Current Research and Scholarly Interests
My lab’s goals are to better understand virus-host protein interactions, identify host partners conservatively required by multiple viruses, and develop broad-spectrum host-centered antiviral approaches with a high genetic barrier for resistance. We combine novel proteomic approaches, including microfluidics platforms, with molecular virology, biochemical, and genomic approaches to achieve these goals. We focus on viruses from the Flaviviridae family (hepatitis C and dengue), as well as HIV.
1. Mechanisms by which Flaviviridae and HIV hijack intracellular membrane trafficking pathways for mediating viral assembly, release, and direct cell-to-cell spread. We have identified several sorting signals within Flaviviridae proteins that are involved in mediating key steps in the viral cycle. We are currently mapping the interaction networks of these signals with human proteins, and investigating the functional relevance, regulatory mechanisms, and inhibition of these interactions. Additional projects involve interactions with cytoskeleton dynamics proteins, ESCRT machinery and more.
2. Mechanisms of HCV-related cancer. Chronic HCV infection is a major cause of hepatocellular carcinoma and is also associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. We study virus-host interactions involved in facilitating viral persistence (a precursor to HCV-related oncogenesis).
3. Molecular mechanisms underlying HCV-HIV co-infection.
4. Furthering novel high-throughput proteomic technologies for screening and mapping virus-host interactomes and for screening small molecule libraries for inhibitors of protein-protein interactions.