In situ Structural Biology
Mononegaviruses are an order of viruses that share a number of common features: they have single-stranded non-segmented RNA genomes; they bud from host cells within membrane envelopes; and while they have distinct morphologies, each virus has a unique structure. Mononegaviruses include a number of important emerging, re-emerging, and neglected human pathogens, including Ebola, measles, and rabies viruses, respectively. Despite their impact on human health, much is still unknown about the mechanisms behind the life cycles of these viruses, including viral replication, assembly, and infection.
The Wan laboratory seeks to understand the life cycles of these viruses using structural biology under near-native conditions. Our main tool for this is cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET), which allows us to obtain molecular resolution information directly within complex environments including intact viruses and cellular sections. Cryo-ET is still an emerging method, and we seek to leverage state-of-the-art equipment and develop image-processing methods in order to pursue our biological goals.