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Joshua C. Munger, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Office: (585) 273-4800

Fax: (585) 271-2683

Research Labs

Faculty Appointments

Biography

Research

A major focus of our laboratory is human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a herpes virus, which is the leading cause of congenital viral infection, occurring in approximately 1% of all live births. Congenital HCMV infection results in central nervous system damage in the majority of symptomatic newborns. HCMV infection also poses a serious health risk to immunosuppressed individuals, increasing morbidity in the elderly and in patients receiving immunosuppressive chemotherapy, including cancer patients, transplant recipients, and AIDS patients.
The majority of the projects in our lab study the interfaces between viruses and the host cell that determine the outcome of infection. Specifically, we focus on how viruses usurp cellular metabolic controls and subvert cellular anti-viral signaling to support productive infection. The goal of our laboratory is to increase our mechanistic understanding of these processes to identify novel avenues for therapeutic intervention that could prevent virally-associated pathogenesis.

The global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths globally. Anti-viral therapeutic strategies are desperately needed to attenuate SARS-CoV-2-associated disease. We have initiated a high-throughput pharmacologic screen of a unique metabolism-focused compound library to identify drugs that limit coronavirus infection in pulmonary human fibroblasts. Our preliminary data has identified several compounds that substantially inhibit coronavirus infection. Our laboratory is in the process of validating the anti-viral activity of these compounds against SARS-CoV-2. In addition, we are elucidating how coronaviruses modulate cellular metabolism to support productive infection in an attempt to identify viral metabolic vulnerabilities that might be targeted for further therapeutic development.

Publications

Journal Articles

12/2/2020
Dunn DM, Rodriguez-Sanchez I, Schafer X, Munger J. "Human Cytomegalovirus Induces the Expression of the AMPKa2 Subunit to Drive Glycolytic Activation and Support Productive Viral Infection." Journal of virology.. 2020 Dec 2; Epub 2020 Dec 02.

2020
Dunn DM, Munger J. "Interplay Between Calcium and AMPK Signaling in Human Cytomegalovirus Infection." Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology.. 2020 10:384. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

9/18/2019
Goodwin CM, Schafer X, Munger J. "U26 attenuates IKK?-mediated induction of ISG expression and enhanced protein ISGylation during HCMV infection." Journal of virology.. 2019 Sep 18; Epub 2019 Sep 18.

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