February 1, 2021 | Webinar

Webinar | When infections get personal: Identifying patient-specific infection responses with multidimensional RNAseq

Multiple organ dysfunction is a feature of some high severity cases of COVID-19, in part brought on by an adverse immune response. In this webinar, Dr. Jeremy Prokop will discuss how his team at Michigan State University is applying a multidimensional RNA-seq based approach to measuring individual immune responses to COVID-19 and how that can be utilized to personalize treatment of high severity cases to avoid organ dysfunction. 


Despite its prevalence, it is not well understood why some COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic and some advance into multiple organ dysfunction. While only occurring in a small subset of patients, multiple organ dysfunction is a feature of high severity cases and exhibits a high mortality rate. These patients are characterized by an adverse immune response that can lead to organ damage. Understanding these immune responses can provide better insight into designing personalized therapies to prevent organ failure. 

In a recently published paper, Dr. Prokop and colleagues at Michigan State University described a precision medicine workflow that uses a combination of RNA-seq and targeted immune sequencing to identify biomarkers in patients that experience multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS). For 27 patients, their workflow enabled simultaneous mapping of viral/bacterial load, cell composition, tissue damage, biomarkers, and balance between syndromic biology versus environmental response. 

In this webinar, Dr. Prokop will discuss these findings and explain how his team is using a similar approach to shed light on individual responses to COVID-19, including presenting new, unpublished data from three additional cohorts of patients suffering from RSV, MODS, and COVID-19. Early results show that their multidimensional RNA-seq approach can be used to identify shared gene expression signatures that correlated with the severity of COVID-19 as well as individualized signatures that provide unique insights only possible using in-depth RNA sequencing. 

Highlights include:

  • Discussion of a transcriptional workflow applicable to personalized treatment of infections, including COVID-19 
  • Results from multidimensional RNA analysis in three cohorts (RSV, Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome, and COVID-19) ranging in age from 1 month to 95 years old 
  • Simultaneous identification of gene pathways, organ damage, and immune response 
  • Discovery of a novel genome mechanism termed Viral-Induced genetics in a patient with severe EBV 


Jeremy Prokop, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology
Michigan State University

Jeremy Prokop is an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Human Development and also in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Michigan State University. The Prokop lab focuses on integrative biosciences for understanding genes and genetic variants, utilizing computational tools to generate testable hypotheses for genomic variants (coding and noncoding) and protein function that are then used to guide wet lab experiments into disease mechanisms and pharmacological intervention. Over the past three years the lab has focused on understanding the complex interaction of genetic variants with environmental changes such as infections, hypoxia, or chronic pathologies. To do this, the lab integrates advanced sequencing data (single-cell RNAseq, Direct RNAseq, multidimensional RNAseq, ATAC-Seq) with induced pluripotent stem cell-derived human tissues and organoids to control the genomic and environmental interactions.