Dr. Foy has spent the majority of her research training focused on understanding how pathogens and hosts interact to determine the outcome of infection. She received her BS from UCLA in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and completed the Medical Scientist Training Program at UT Southwestern where she spent her graduate studies in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Gale Jr. elucidating how HCV subverts the host innate immune response. Upon completion of her pediatrics residency at UCSF, she continued on to a Pediatric Infectious Diseases fellowship where her postdoctoral studies in the lab of Dr. Raul Andino focus on enterovirus pathogenesis. In 2015, she joined the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Health.
Her current research continues to focus on enteroviruses which are among the most common viral pathogens, causing 10-15 million infections per year in the United States alone. Belonging to the positive-stranded RNA Picornaviridae family, the enterovirus genus consists of over 100 members including poliovirus, coxsackie A/B, echoviruses and the more recently described and numbered enteroviruses (EV68-121). These viruses cause a diverse spectrum of disease including the more common upper respiratory, gastrointestinal and mucocutaneous forms to the more severe forms resulting in enteroviral sepsis in neonates and immunocompromised patients, or involvement of the heart (myocarditis, pericarditis) and CNS (meningitis, encephalitis, acute flaccid paralysis) in otherwise healthy individuals.
In collaboration with Dr. Andino and others at UCSF, Dr. Foy has been involved in the generation and characterization of a global protein interaction network between enteroviruses and their host. This approach has provided a more comprehensive understanding of how these viruses interact with the host cell to both successfully propagate as well as navigate the host response to infection. Additionally, we have uncovered novel mechanisms through which the virus manipulates the host cell and Dr. Foy’s research is currently focused on following up on these findings. Her ultimate goal is to aid in the development of improved vaccine strategies and broad enteroviral therapeutics to treat children with devastating and life-threatening enterovirus infections through the knowledge gained through better molecular understanding of virus-host interactions.
Dr. Foy is board certified in Pediatric Infectious Diseases and enjoys providing clinical care to the patients on the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital inpatient Pediatric Infectious Diseases consultation service as well as teaching house staff and medical students.