We use a combination of cellular biology, biochemistry, biophysics, and structural biology (cryo-electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography) to understand the atomic-resolution mechanisms by which various pathogens evade the immune system, recognize the cellular host, acquire access to the cell, modify the cellular environment, and replicate. Ongoing projects include:
 
Porcine Cirocovirus 2 (PCV2):
PCV2 possesses several attributes that make it a unique virus. It infects nearly every tissue in its natural host. It infects and induces its pathogenic phenotype in multiple species of the animal kingdom. Its infection culminates in the immunosuppression and death of its host. It is the smallest autonomously replicating and pathogenic virus, and thus defines the limits of biochemical information necessary to define a deadly virus. We are interested in understanding the life cycle of the virus at atomic resolution.
 
Delivery of antimicrobial agents:
Antibiotic resistance in bacteria is a serious problem in developing and industrialized nations. There are several reasons for this: the gain of function to either dispose or modify the antibiotic so that it cannot act on its intended target, the alteration of the intended target such that the antibiotic no longer interacts with it, and a cell wall (e.g. Gram-negative bacteria) that is a natural impermeable barrier to most antibiotics. We are using engineered viruses and bacteriophage as nanotechnology platforms to overcome these barriers and deliver antimicrobial agents to specific strains of pathogenic bacteria.
 
Ribosomes:
Ribosomes are large macromolecular complexes of protein and RNA responsible for translation (conversion of the RNA code into protein code). We are studying Ribosomes from pathogenic bacteria for antibiotic development, and Ribosomes with unique gain- and loss-of-function to understand how the mutations generate the observed phenotype.
12resources

Available to the lab

The facilities below are fully accessible to members of the laboratory

and will be heavily used throughout the research

New York Structural Biology Center

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Advanced Science Research Center

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CUNY High Performance Comp. Center

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Institute for Macromolecular Assemblies

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