New Keynote Speaker: Prof. Angelo Lucia – Viral Metabolic Reprogramming 

 Viral Metabolic Reprogramming 

Angelo Lucia 

Chester H. Kirk Professor and Department Chair

Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI, USA 


Viruses are not living entities; they consist of a collection of viron particles. Each particle is generally made of DNA or RNA encapsulated in capsid protein surrounded by a lipid layer. Viruses have two main goals: 

1) invasion a host cell 

2) replication 

Once inside the cell, a virus will take over the cell machinery, modifying or reprogramming cell metabolism for its own purposes. These modifications usually include increased rates of glycolysis, pentose phosphate (PEP) consumption, and glutaminolysis, which in turn result in increased citrate production and fatty acid production. Unfortunately, after a decade of research, understanding of viral metabolic reprogramming is still poorly understood. However, computer modeling, simulation and optimization offer unique opportunities to investigate mechanisms used by viruses to hijack cellular metabolism. 

In this talk, an overview of the Nash Equilibrium approach to modeling metabolic networks and its application to viral metabolic reprogramming will be presented. A network of fifteen + pathways are used to model and simulate metabolic behavior of a cell infected with a virus. Specific attention will be given to studying increased amino acid, nucleotide, and fatty acid synthesis, changes in energy charge, and to identifying potential ways of ‘killing’ the virus.