We are part of the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada.
We study the biology of positive-sense RNA viruses, a large group of viruses including established and emerging human pathogens. Famous positive-sense RNA viruses include hepatitis C virus (HCV), West Nile virus, dengue virus, Zika virus, SARS virus, MERS virus, and rhinovirus (the common cold virus). Positive-sense RNA viruses share some conserved features, including the remodelling of intracellular membranes to form viral replication organelles. These replication organelles are platforms for viral replication, but importantly also shield viral RNA from cytoplasmic innate immune sensors, thus helping the virus to avoid cellular antiviral responses that otherwise restrict viral infection. We use HCV as a model to understand how these viruses manipulate cellular membrane biology to form replication organelles, and to study how cells sense and respond to viral replication organelles. We aim to identify novel antiviral strategies for this important group of viruses, while simultaneously uncovering novel aspects of cellular membrane biology and antiviral responses through study of these viral “cell biologists.”
We are always interested in hearing from enthusiastic students – if this sounds interesting, or you’d like to learn more, please get in touch!