Credit: Robert Garcea/University of Colorado–BoulderCredit: Robert Garcea/University of Colorado–BoulderHuman Polyomaviruses

Our laboratory is focused on studying the pathogenesis of the human polyomaviruses, JC Virus (JCPyV) and BK Virus (BKPyV).

Reactivation of JCV under conditions of immunosuppression leads to the fatal demyelinating disease in humans known as Progressive Multifocal Leuko-encephalopathy (PML). Reactivation of BKPyV in kidney transplant recipients has emerged as a major problem in the last decade and is responsible for nearly half of all kidney transplant failures.

Laboratory of Molecular Virology

The major focus of the lab is studying early events that mediate infection of cells by these viruses. These early events include but are not limited to studies of virus-host cell receptor interactions, endocytic trafficking of virus from the plasma membrane to the nucleus, and virus induced membrane signaling.

We have a general interest in studying events that contribute to viral tropism and regulate the balance between infection and resistance. We also focus our efforts at screening lead compounds that block any of these key steps in the viral life cycle as potential therapies to treat or prevent disease caused by JCPyV and BKPyV. We approach these problems using state-of-the-art techniques in cell and molecular biology and genetics.