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My research is in the area of Virus Biophysics. Research focuses on key physical mechanisms for infectivity and replication of double-stranded DNA and RNA viruses. Experimental model systems used in my group are dsDNA bacteriophages (phage lambda and phage T5), human Herpes viruses (e.g. HSV-1) and human Rotaviruses (dsRNA). I am specifically interested in physical mechanisms of DNA packaging and ejection from viral capsids, viral packaging motors, DNA structural transitions inside the capsids associated with infection, viral DNA ejection dynamics, assembly and mechanical stability of viral capsids, effects of molecular crowding on viral DNA ejection and viral replication in vivo, viral DNA condensation. My current research direction is centered around my laboratory’s discovery of high internal DNA pressure inside human Herpesvirus capsids. This DNA pressure reaches tens of atmospheres! The internal genome pressure is generated by strong repulsive interactions between tightly packaged, negatively charged DNA strands as well as DNA bending energy. We found that this mechanical DNA pressure is responsible for initiation of viral infection. Also central to my group is the direct link between virus biophysics and molecular genetics. The ability to selectively modify viral genes of interest allows identification of specific protein domains required for DNA encapsidation and retention during capsid assembly and viral capsid maturation. My laboratory has the unique capability to perform both single molecule and bulk measurements on viruses under controlled solution conditions. The main techniques are atomic force microscopy, ultra-sensitive microcalorimetry, fluorescence microscopy, light scattering, solution X-ray and neutron scattering.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

UKÄ subject classification

  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Immunology in the medical area
  • Microbiology in the medical area
  • Other Medical Sciences
  • Infectious Medicine
  • Biophysics


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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