Humanized mouse models of viral disease and therapeutic assessment.

March 12, 2022

Dr. Kerry Lavender
Biochemistry, Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Saskatchewan

Many viral diseases have strict human tropism preventing animal studies of viral pathogenesis and therapeutic evaluation. Human immune system (HIS) mouse models were developed to facilitate the in vivo study of diseases such as HIV-1 that have human hematopoietic tropism. We developed and currently use the TKO-BLT HIS mouse to study how IFNa subtypes differentially control the outcomes of viral diseases, including HIV-1. Recently, we created the TKO-BLT-Lung model by implanting human lung tissue that is autologous to the engrafted human immune system. The TKO-BLT-Lung mouse can be used to study SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses and to evaluate therapeutics against them including monoclonal antibodies and specific IFNa subtypes.


Dr. Lavender received her B.Sc. degree from the University of Toronto and completed her Ph.D. at the University of Alberta. She went on to complete postdoctoral positions at the University of Oxford and at Rocky Mountain Labs, NIAID, NIH. Dr. Lavender has been a tenure-track Assistant Professor at the University of Saskatchewan since 2018.

photo of Dr. Kerry Lavender