Michael Rossmann

01-07-2010

Hanley Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences; National Academy of Science.

The central interest of my laboratory is the determination of the three-dimensional, atomic resolution structure of viruses. However, it is not only the structure of the mature infectious virus that interests us, but all the structures that are involved in the assembly of the virus in a host cell, the interaction of viruses with host cells that initiates entry into the cell and infection, as well as the structures of viruses complexed with neutralizing antibodies or antiviral agents (potential drugs). In short, we are investigating the way viruses interact with their environment. Our tools are X-ray crystallography for high resolution studies and electron microscopy for lower resolution studies of transient virus complexes, as well as all the tools of molecular biology.

The viruses we are currently studying include a variety of small RNA animal viruses, such as common cold viruses, polioviruses and coxsackieviruses. We are also looking at more complicated, lipid membrane enveloped RNA viruses, such as dengue virus and alphaviruses. We have long been interested in the small DNA parvoviruses. Finally, we have been studying how viruses package their nucleic acid genomes in the analyses of a variety of bacterial viruses.

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