Viral entry: Discovery of basic entry mechanisms leads to ways to prevent infection.
The laboratory conducts basic research on paramyxoviruses that cause serious and prevalent childhood diseases, and on newly emerging paramyxoviruses that affect humans. We investigate common pediatric respiratory viruses (parainfluenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus) as well as emerging lethal henipaviruses (Nipah and Hendra viruses). The focus is on the mechanisms of viral entry into host cells, in the intial stages of infection. The laboratory is best known for identifying critical roles of the viral receptor binding protein in activating the viral fusion process during infection. By identifying the mechanism of fusion activation, we have now have identified promising targets for interfering with the viral entry process.
The lab is organized around the interdisciplinary theme of virus-host interactions. Projects draw from strategies and methods of molecular biology, cell biology, biophysics, immunology, computational biology, structural biology, and virology. Projects are inter-related in ways that lead to constant communication and contributions to each other's development.