Amanda Janesick

Genetics and Mathematics

When she arrived at UCI, Amanda Janesick was delighted to discover the research opportunities available to her so early in her college career. She has loved the experience of working one on one with Professor Komarova, using mathematical modeling to study a variety of biological and evolutionary phenomena from language acquisition to cancer progression. Amanda’s research experience has taught her many invaluable lessons, and her interdisciplinary studies have helped her find a unique place within the culture and vitality of the campus. Before beginning her studies at UCI, Amanda spent three years dancing professionally with the Nevada Ballet Theatre in Las Vegas. triangle.gif (504 bytes)




Viral pathogenesis is a growing area of interest in biology, with implications ranging from the suppression of tumor growth to the control of HIV propagation. We investigated the evolution of viral release strategies from a computational biology perspective. Viruses are either lytic (they lyse, or kill, the host cell) or nonlytic (they bud, or leak, from the host progressively). This paper asks which strategy leads to the most rapid spread of viral progeny. The Euler-Lotka equation is our chosen instrument, and its induction into virus dynamics is novel. The model generated with the Euler-Lotka equation incorporates parameters that describe how fast virions accumulate or exit the cells and how the cells respond to a viral infection. Our results show that a nonlytic virus exhibits greater growth rates than a lytic virus, with all parameters equal. Given this outcome, parameters are adjusted to find the conditions that confer an evolutionary advantage to the lytic virus. We conclude that a lytic virus should have low cytotoxicity, possess a short eclipse stage (time delay inherent to the viral life cycle), or breed progeny at relatively high rates. triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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Faculty Mentor                                                                                                                

Natalia Komarova

School of Physical Sciences

Viral release strategies can be roughly classified as lytic (which accumulate inside the host cell and exit in a burst, killing the cell), and budding (which are produced and released from the host cell gradually). Amanda Janesick used mathematical modeling to study the evolutionary competition between these two strategies. She employed the Euler-Lotka model, an equation that comes from the mathematical theory of demography, to show exactly the circumstances under which lytic viruses have a chance in a competition against budding viruses. It has been a pleasure to work with Amanda because of her keen interest in the scientific question, inquisitive mind, quick learning, and ability to understand the bigger picture. triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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