I am using LLSM to study the early steps of viral entry from binding of virus to cells, trafficking through the endocytic pathway, and then successful delivery of the virus’ genetic material to either the cytoplasm or to the nucleus. Currently, I am focused on two viruses, SARS-CoV-2 and Adeno Associated virus (AAV) used for gene therapy.
In the context of SARS-CoV-2 we have successfully set up an imaging platform where we can track hundreds of single chimeric VSV-SARS-CoV-2 in whole cell volumes to understand the early binding, cleavage, and trafficking steps that lead to membrane fusion of the viral membrane with the host cell. In understanding the early stages of viral infection, we aim to better therapeutically target SARS-CoV-2 infections.
With AAV virus we are imaging the early stages of trafficking and arrival of viral capsids to the nucleus. Combining our imaging approaches with development of AAV variants we hope to develop more efficient vectors. Further, we hope to expand these studies to understand vector targeting and spread within tissues.