Keyword: Viruses

Ray Lu

My lab focuses on two main axes of research:
1) Unfolded Protein Response and Human Diseases: We study proteins that play key roles in animal stress responses, specifically the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) that is caused by stress in the endoplasmic reticulum. The UPR has been linked to animal development, cell differentiation, as well as a variety of human diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer and viral infection. Specifically, we look at: stress signaling mediated by these proteins (their upstream and downstream targets), and how it is related to cellular processes or animal diseases (lipid metabolism/obesity, hypoxia/cancer, glucose metabolism/diabetes, and inflammation); the molecular mechanism of how these genes/proteins are regulated during the stress response (e.g., transcriptional regulation, protein translational modification and trafficking etc).
2) Molecular Mechanisms of Aging: We are working to establish planarians as a new aging model to test the hypothesis that longevity requires multiplex resistance to stress. We hope to identify genes or alleles that confer such multiplex stress resistance and/or promote longevity.

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Baozhong Meng

The ultimate goal of my research is to understand viruses and viral diseases for the betterment of agriculture. This goal is being achieved through investigations using multi-disciplinary approaches including those used in virology, molecular biology, cell biology and biochemistry and through national and international collaborations. Our research involves a number of important viruses that infect plants, which include Grapevine rupestris stem pitting-associated virus (GRSPaV), a ubiquitous and important pathogen of grapes worldwide. Current research directions include: Processing and subcellular localization of the replicase polyprotein of GRSPaV; elucidation of function of the novel Alkylation B (AlkB) domain in the replicase polyprotein of GRSPaV and closteroviruses; structure and cellular localization of viral replication complexes; evolution biology and bio-informatics of major grapevine viruses; development of virus-induced gene-silencing vectors for beneficial applications; and, development and application of highly efficient and economical technologies for the diagnosis of major grapevine viruses.

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Robert Mullen

My research focuses on three main areas of plant cell biology:
1) Characterization of enzymes involved in seed oil biosynthesis: This research is aimed at understanding various aspects of the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in producing seed oils and their proper packaging into oil bodies. One of our current goals is to engineer neutral lipid accumulation in vegetative tissues of plants.
2) Understanding various aspects of the biogenesis of peroxisomes, including how membrane proteins are targeted to this organelle, and what role the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) serves in the formation of peroxisomes. We are also especially interested in understanding how certain viruses "hijack" peroxisomes for their replication in infected plant cells.
3) Identification and characterization of a unique class of integral membrane proteins known as "Tail-Anchored" (TA) proteins. Our research is currently aimed at identifying TA proteins using bioinformatic approaches and characterizing these proteins in terms of their localization, targeting signals, and the protein machinery (e.g., receptors) that mediate their membrane insertion and assembly.

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Ray Lu

My lab focuses on two main axes of research:
1) Unfolded Protein Response and Human Diseases: We study proteins that play key roles in animal stress responses, specifically the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) that is caused by stress in the endoplasmic reticulum. The UPR has been linked to animal development, cell differentiation, as well as a variety of human diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer and viral infection. Specifically, we look at: stress signaling mediated by these proteins (their upstream and downstream targets), and how it is related to cellular processes or animal diseases (lipid metabolism/obesity, hypoxia/cancer, glucose metabolism/diabetes, and inflammation); the molecular mechanism of how these genes/proteins are regulated during the stress response (e.g., transcriptional regulation, protein translational modification and trafficking etc).
2) Molecular Mechanisms of Aging: We are working to establish planarians as a new aging model to test the hypothesis that longevity requires multiplex resistance to stress. We hope to identify genes or alleles that confer such multiplex stress resistance and/or promote longevity.

Learn More

Baozhong Meng

The ultimate goal of my research is to understand viruses and viral diseases for the betterment of agriculture. This goal is being achieved through investigations using multi-disciplinary approaches including those used in virology, molecular biology, cell biology and biochemistry and through national and international collaborations. Our research involves a number of important viruses that infect plants, which include Grapevine rupestris stem pitting-associated virus (GRSPaV), a ubiquitous and important pathogen of grapes worldwide. Current research directions include: Processing and subcellular localization of the replicase polyprotein of GRSPaV; elucidation of function of the novel Alkylation B (AlkB) domain in the replicase polyprotein of GRSPaV and closteroviruses; structure and cellular localization of viral replication complexes; evolution biology and bio-informatics of major grapevine viruses; development of virus-induced gene-silencing vectors for beneficial applications; and, development and application of highly efficient and economical technologies for the diagnosis of major grapevine viruses.

Learn More

Robert Mullen

My research focuses on three main areas of plant cell biology:
1) Characterization of enzymes involved in seed oil biosynthesis: This research is aimed at understanding various aspects of the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in producing seed oils and their proper packaging into oil bodies. One of our current goals is to engineer neutral lipid accumulation in vegetative tissues of plants.
2) Understanding various aspects of the biogenesis of peroxisomes, including how membrane proteins are targeted to this organelle, and what role the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) serves in the formation of peroxisomes. We are also especially interested in understanding how certain viruses "hijack" peroxisomes for their replication in infected plant cells.
3) Identification and characterization of a unique class of integral membrane proteins known as "Tail-Anchored" (TA) proteins. Our research is currently aimed at identifying TA proteins using bioinformatic approaches and characterizing these proteins in terms of their localization, targeting signals, and the protein machinery (e.g., receptors) that mediate their membrane insertion and assembly.

Learn More
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