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Faculty Lecture Series


Wednesday, May 12, 2010
5 PM - 6 PM


Valerie Timken Amphitheater
Green Hospital


Erica Ollmann Saphire , Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Immunology and Microbial Sciences


"The Structural Basis of Ebola Viral Pathogenesis: Entry, Replication, and Immune Evasion "
  The ebolavirus causes a severe hemorrhagic fever that is 50-90% lethal. The virus itself encodes just seven genes. These few gene products together assemble the viral machinery required to recognize and enter new host cells, suppress immune signaling, and assemble and bud new virions (around 3 x 1010 virions/ml patient sera). The Ollmann Saphire lab seeks to understand at the molecular level, how certain pathogens like ebolavirus overcome and even exploit the human immune system. We begin by determining an X-ray crystal structure of a key pathogenic determinant or immune molecule, and then use the structure to develop hypotheses that we subsequently test through immunological, biochemical and functional studies. Structures recently determined in the lab illustrate key events in entry, assembly, immune recognition and immune evasion and are providing templates for field diagnostics and therapeutics against Ebola and other emerging and reemerging threats.

Selected Publications

  Kimberlin, C. R., Bornholdt, Z.A., Woods, V.L., Jr., MacRae, I.J., and Saphire, E.O. 2010. Ebolavirus VP35 uses a bimodal strategy to bind dsRNA for innate immune suppression. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 107: 314-319.
  Lee, J. E. & Saphire, E. O. 2009. Neutralizing Ebolavirus: structural insights into the envelope glycoprotein and antibodies targeted against it. Curr. Opin. Struct. Biol. 19: 1-10.
  Lee, J. E. Fusco, M.L., Oswald, W.B., Hessell, A.J., Burton, D.R., and Saphire, E.O 2008. Structure of the Ebola virus glycoprotein bound to an antibody from a human survivor. Nature 474: 177-183.
  Lee, J. E., Keuhne, A. Abelson, D.M., Fusco, M.L., Hart, M.K., and Saphire, E.O. 2008. Complex of a protective antibody with its ebolavirus GP peptide epitope: unusual features of a V lambda x light chain. J. Mol. Biol. 375: 202-216.


Previous Speakers

John Tainer, Ph.D.
Jeffery Kelly, Ph.D.
Paul Schimmel, Ph.D.
Ann Feeney, Ph.D.
Benjamin F. Cravatt, Ph.D.
Ron Milligan, Ph.D.