Curtis Cai joined the Viral Immunology Systems Program in 2016 to complete an honours project for his undergraduate studies. During the year he developed and refined techniques in molecular biology, next generation sequencing and downstream bioinformatics analysis for viral sequencing. He likes to think of himself as a soggy scientist, one who divides his time between the lab bench and computer terminal.
As a current PhD candidate, his research project investigates CD8 T cell responses over the course of Hepatitis C virus infection using single cell technologies in flow cytometry and transcriptomics. In the context of persistent infections such as HCV infection, CD8 T cells responses are known to become dysfunctional or exhausted. The aims of the project are to generate a functional definition of CD8 T cell exhaustion from human studies and understand how CD8 T cell responses contribute to infection outcomes.