My current research is focused on understanding the replication of several mammalian viruses. The majority of the work is focusing on Hepatitis C virus (HCV), which causes liver and blood diseases. We are using a culture system that isolates HCV from infected individuals. We are studying HCV that have been isolated from patients in order to understand its replication. A recent project completed by students involved determining if HCV, HIV (which causes AIDS), and Human Herpes Virus 6 (HHV-6) can simultaneously infect the same cells.
Another project is looking at different strains of Feline leukemia virus (FeLV). This virus is a major cause of leukemia in cats. We are analyzing several strains of FeLV to determine how differences in their genomes affect their replication. This work is done in collaboration with the California Institute of Molecular Medicine (CIMM). We have a second set of projects that focus on genomics.
In one comparative genomics project we are collaborating with Dr. Sarah Elgin at Washington University on sequencing and comparing the dot chromosome of several Drosophila species (fruit flies). The dot chromosome is the smallest chromosome in fruit flies. Students are involved in determining how to complete the sequencing of the chromosomes and in locating and describing (annotating) the genes on the chromosomes.
We also have our own genomics project that is sequencing the genome of a strain of the archaeon Thermoplasma acidophilum. This is an organism that grows at high temperatures (60 degrees C) and at the low pH of 1. Students have been involved in all aspects of this project.
Previous faculty positions
- Lecturer – Department of Biology, UC San Diego
- Assistant professor – Department of Chemistry, University of San Diego
- B.A., Ph.D. – Biochemistry, UC Davis
- Postdoctoral Research – Department of Medicine, UC San Diego