Coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) is the leading cause of viral myocarditis, an inflammation that can so severely damage the heart that a heart transplant becomes the only treatment option. Previous studies have identified 28 up - or down - regulated genes in CVB3-infected mouse hearts, but the functions and mechanisms of the host gene regulation in the progression of CVB3-induced myocarditis are not clear. Ji Yuan is further analyzing the role of host gene alteration in viral myocarditis by investigating the IP10 gene, believed to be the most crucial up-regulated gene. Her objective is to define the functional role of IP10 and trace the cascade of events precipitated by its up-regulation which result in major damage to the heart. By conducting these experiments, she will not only have a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of viral myocarditis, but also may discover potential targets for gene therapy or new diagnostic tests for this heart disease.