Program: Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis
Current advisor: Gaya K. Amarasinghe, PhD
Undergraduate university: Colby College
I work in the lab of Gaya Amarasinghe, seeking to understand mechanisms of Ebola virus infection through protein-protein interaction studies. Our work uses various screening tools to identify the entire Ebola virus interactome during an infection, and this approach will allow us to find new host pathways targeted by the virus, which will subsequently give more insights in how to fight the virus. A previous binding interaction screen identified the host human E3 ligase mind bomb 2 (MIB2) as a binding partner to Ebola viral protein VP35. This interaction was shown to inhibit MIB2 mediated IFNb and NFkB promoter activation, and the presence of MIB2 inhibits Ebola minigenome activity. My work is to map the interaction and identify protein domains involved. MIB2 is a big multifunction protein involved in various pathways including the ubiquitous Notch signaling pathway as well as the proinflammatory NF-kB pathway. Understanding how the presence VP35 interferers with MIB2 function will allow us to better understand the viral mechanism of infection.