ARRTI Speaker Series - Dr. Carla Coffin

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The Alberta RNA Research and Training Institute presents Dr. Carla Coffin, Associate Professor of Medicine from the University of Calgary.  Her talk is titled "Hepatitis B Virus Persistence." The ARRTI Speaker Series is open to the public and was established to bring leading researchers to the University of Lethbridge for lectures on a broad range of topics relating to RNA research. All are welcome! Coffee and snacks will be provided!



The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a global human pathogen that causes chronic hepatitis B (CHB) in ~240 million people worldwide who have a 15-40% lifetime risk of end-stage liver disease and/or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Key events in the HBV lifecycle include the formation of an intranuclear minichromosome, known as covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) that serves as a reservoir for the HBV.  Second, the HBV utilizes reverse transcription of an RNA intermediate to copy its genome leading to viral variants or quasispecies. Additionally, although HBV is considered a hepatotropic virus, it can also infect and propagate within cells of the immune system (i.e., lymphoid cells), which is an important immune evasion strategy.  There are 10 HBV genotypes reported (A-J) with specific geographical distribution.  There is evidence that the HBV genotype, viral diversity and mutants correlate with the natural history of chronic hepatitis B.  Our studies integrate well-defined, known clinical factors in patients infected with the hepatitis B virus with virological biomarkers such as HBV DNA, RNA, quantitative hepatitis B surface antigen levels, genotypes/viral variants, and HBV cccDNA reservoirs. Our clinical and laboratory studies delineate how these factors reflect HBV natural history, to understand HBV persistence and guide clinical management of HBV infected patients. 

About Dr. Coffin:

Dr. Carla Coffin MD, MSc, FRCPC is Associate Professor, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary and Medical Director of the Calgary Liver Unit. Dr. Coffin received her MSc and MD from Memorial University of Newfoundland. She completed training in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology at the University of Calgary and an American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases Advanced Hepatology Fellowship at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Coffin was a recipient of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator Award (2012-2017). She was co-chair of the 2018 Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver Management of HBV guidelines committee and served on the WHO Expert Advisory Committee for Essential Medicines (HBV and HCV). She is co-leading the Canadian HBV Network to facilitate nationwide research and collaborations on hepatitis B. Her CIHR-funded clinical and bench laboratory program of research is focused on chronic and occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) persistence in the context of special patient populations (i.e., non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), pregnancy, liver transplantation, and co-infection).



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Emily Wilton |