Viral Mechanisms of Metabolic Reprogramming
Viruses depend on cellular metabolic resources to supply the energy and biochemical building blocks necessary for their rapid replication. We find that the cell’s metabolic resources represent a contested host-pathogen interaction that can determine the outcome of infection. We have identified several virally-induced metabolic activities that are essential for productive infection. A major goal of our laboratory is to elucidate the mechanisms through which viruses modulate cellular metabolism to support infection, and thereby identify potential therapeutic targets to block virally-associated disease.
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Viral Manipulation of Cellular Anti-viral Signaling
Cells express numerous sensors to detect viral infection. Upon detection of viral components, cells enter an anti-viral state that limits viral spread. Many viruses express genes that antagonize the establishment of this anti-viral state so as to support infection. A major project in the lab is to elucidate the mechanisms through which viral gene products modify the sensing, establishment, and down-stream implementation of the anti-viral state. We couple viral recombineering and CRISPR-mediated cellular DNA editing with classical biochemical and LC-MS/MS-based proteomic techniques to dissect these issues.
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Viral Vectors For Gene Therapy And Cancer Cell Killing
Viruses can be engineered to express genes to treat genetic disorders or specifically kill cancer cells. We are currently utilizing molecular recombineering techniques to optimize viral vectors for gene delivery, modulation of immune activation, and cancer cell-specific killing.
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