Da Di discusses Innate Immunity, The First Line of Defense against Viral Infection

March 6, 2018
Da Di

His current project focuses on innate immunity, which exists in most organisms on earth as a first line of defense against viral infection. Cellular receptors detect incoming RNA from viruses and set off a chain reaction that ends with an interferon being sent out to destroy the invaders. One of the ways that viruses evade innate immunity is to block the activator, which is a big part of the process. 

Da and his team want to learn more about how this activator protein works and how viruses block it. He says they’re conducting structural analysis to determine how the activator and sensor work in the function of innate immunity. Da’s lab hopes that this work can translate into innovations in the strengthening of innate immunity and an improved defense against viruses in the future. 

Back in his home country China, Da was part of a team that participated in the international Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM) during his undergraduate years. He says that all science comes from philosophy, and understanding the reasons behind the phenomenon is of the highest importance.

Down the road, Da hopes to first move forward with his current project and then transition into cancer research. Da is a consummate professional, reading the work of renowned physicist Richard Feynman in his free time to expand his knowledge. As for his story, Da’s career is merely in its infancy; his professional horizon appears limitless and supremely bright.

By Gabriel Sinner