Troels K H Scheel
Dr. Troels K. H. Scheel, PhD, is an Associate Professor at Copenhagen Hepatitis C Program (CO-HEP), Department of Immunology and Microbiology, University of Copenhagen and Department of Infectious Diseases, Hvidovre Hospital, Denmark. Dr. Scheel received his PhD from University of Copenhagen in 2011 supervised by Dr. Jens Bukh, and did his postdoctoral training with Dr. Charles M. Rice at the Rockefeller University, NY, USA. Since 2016, he has been leading a research group focusing on virus-host interactions.
Dr. Scheel contributed to development of culture systems for all the major HCV genotypes, now a great resource for the field, and used these for functional and antiviral studies. While the chimpanzee was still available as an animal model, he studied the course of infection for genotype 3 and 4 clones. He was also the first to show that two HCV isolates can recombine and produce infectious viral recombinants in cell culture. Due to the lack of solid HCV animal models for vaccine development, Dr. Scheel worked on discovery and characterization of rodent and equine HCV-related viruses. This has contributed to our understanding of liver disease in horses. His work with Dr. Charles Rice and Dr. Amit Kapoor further has led to rat and mouse models using rodent hepacivirus as a model for HCV. Recent work further led to establishment of the first in vitro systems for this virus.
Dr. Scheel further established a profile in virus-host interactions and systems biology, particularly at the RNA level. He developed new technology for mapping micro-RNA (miRNA)-mediated gene regulation, an emerging therapeutic avenue. These methods were applied to identify unexpected cases of viral dependence on cellular miRNAs, including those of pestiviruses. Surprisingly, it was found that viruses like HCV can sequester enough miRNA to indirectly affect cellular gene regulation – possibly providing an RNA-based mechanism for HCV-mediated development of cancer. These studies pioneered new directions in miRNA systems biology and the intersection with virology and form the foundation for continued exploration of virus-RNA interactions in Dr. Scheel’s laboratory.