In our lab we use structural and biophysical approaches for studying the organization and dynamics of macromolecular assemblies. Our research focuses on determining how protein structure and interactions guide the principles and mechanisms of viral and parasitic infection.
Our main emphasis is on third-world and poverty related emerging pathogens. These neglected diseases are growing concern in many developing countries as well as in the rest of the world. Nevertheless, their prevalence throughout the world is yet to be reflected in research agenda and resources allocation. Thus, developing communities face vast obstacles in fighting these pathogens that induce illnesses with high mortality rates
We generally interested in two different systems:
How do viruses assemble and how do they enter the cells they infect? Can we exploit our structural understanding of viral entry with progressive methods in biophysics and cell biology to develop novel strategies for vaccine design?
We are particularly interested in creating a complete structural narrative for the assembly and entry of enveloped viruses into their host-cell at the atomic level. To release their genome into the cytoplasm, enveloped viruses must attach to their host-cell and undergo a membrane fusion step in which the viral membrane fuses with the host-cell membrane. The glycoproteins on the virus surface are key components of these events. Structural analysis of these proteins is at the center of our research. Viral structural proteins are also the major antigens recognized by protective antibodies. Their organization on the virion surface is the key for many neutralization strategies. Therefore, understanding the viral envelope assembly combine with detailed mechanisms of various neutralizing antibodies will allow us to design novel therapeutics and develop better vaccines.
What are the unique structural features of eukaryotic parasites? How can we exploit structural investigation of unique biological processes in eukaryotic parasites to design novel therapeutics?