Mehul Suthar, PhD

Affiliate Researcher, Emory National Primate Research Center

Contact Information


Associate Professor, Emory Vaccine Center
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University Emory School of Medicine


Innate immune antiviral defenses are essential for controlling viral infection. These responses include production of type I IFN and pro-inflammatory cytokines, expression of antiviral effector genes, and activation of the adaptive immune response. Much of these responses are initiated when a host cell detects and response to an invading viral pathogen through specific pattern recognition receptors. Our laboratory focuses on understanding how the RIG-I like receptors detect, respond, and regulate immunity to viral infection. The RIG‑I-like receptors, which include RIG-I, MDA5, and LGP2, are expressed basally in nearly all cell types in the body and are induced to increased levels during viral infection and in response to type I IFNs. Using West Nile virus, an emerging RNA virus that is the leading cause of mosquito-borne encephalitis in humans within the United States, we have been dissecting the host immune response to infection. Through these studies, we have identified that the RIG-I like receptors are essential for protection, triggering type I IFN-mediated responses and regulating innate immune, humoral and cell-mediated responses. Current areas of research include defining virus-host interactions that regulate immunity to Flavivirus infection, understanding how the RIG-I like receptors regulate B and T cell immunity, and how the RIG-I like receptors can be targeted to serve as potential vaccine adjuvants.