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Welcome To the Sparer Lab!

Sparer Lab Spring 2019 End of Year Lunch

Fun with Herpes!

We are mixture of graduate students and undergraduates interested in studying how a common herpesvirus (cytomegalovirus) causes disease in newborns and immune compromised patients.

Located in the brand new Mossman Building, there are two main areas of research in my lab.

Viral Chemokines and CMV Pathogenesis

Chemokines are small chemotactic cytokines that are important in controlling leukocyte trafficking during innate, inflammatory, and adaptive immune responses. My work focuses on both human and murine cytomegaloviruses, investigating how these viruses use viral/host chemokines to alter the trafficking of immune cells for the viruses’ benefit.

CMV Entry and anti-CMV peptides

Mouse and human cytomegaloviruses (CMVs) use sugars on the surface of cells (i.e. heparan sulfates) for initiating entry into a cell to start its replication cycle.  In collaboration with Dr. Wall at UTMC we have found novel peptides that block CMV entry with peptides that bind to these cell surface sugars.  In the process we have found that viruses grown in vivo verses in vitro differ in the their ability to be inhibited by these peptides. This points to differences in entry into the cell.  We are exploring these using knockout cell lines/MCMVs and our novel peptides.  We hope to understand how CMVs enters the cell, we can identify mechanisms for targeting vaccines or anti-CMV treatments.

Joseph Jackson Graduation SP2019