First cryo-electron microscopy views of an intracellular positive-strand RNA virus genomic RNA replication complex.  This 3D cryo-EM imaging reveals the bounding membrane (white), genomic dsRNA template (red), crown-like, 12-fold symmetric multimer of viral RNA replication proteins (blue), and a progeny genomic RNA (straight red RNA strand at top) exiting the replication complex for translation and encapsidation.  From Ertel et al. (2017) eLife 6:e25940.

Human cells succumbing to HIV infection. HeLa cells expressing a fluorescent protein-tagged version of the HIV receptor CD4 (green) were infected with HIV and visualized over four days using fluorescence video microscopy. HIV is tracked using a red fluorescent protein-tagged version of the viral Gag protein (red). New HIV particles leaving infected cells appear as bright red dots. At the end of imaging, several cells round up due to virus-induced cell cycle arrest, prior to undergoing apoptosis (programmed cell death).  From Professor Nathan Sherer with movie made by Alex Olson and Laraine Zimdars.

Viruses remain one of the greatest public health challenges, causing an amazing variety of diseases and increasingly threatening deadly, globe-spreading pandemics like Ebola.  Viruses also cause at least 15% of human cancers, are suspected to contribute to neurological other chronic diseases, and are rising as bioterrorism threats.  New pathogenic viruses like HIV, MERS, Zika, etc. are emerging at an accelerating pace, driven by increasing human population density, wild habitat encroachment, phenomenal viral mutation rates and other trends. In parallel, viruses are a major source of insights into normal cell biology, and provide expanding tools for biomedicine, biotechnology and nanotechnology.

Drawing on widely recognized UW-Madison strengths in virology and associated fields, the CMB Virology Focus Group comprises a large set of interactive laboratories including leaders engaged in pioneering studies of the mechanisms of viral evolution, replication, gene expression, host interactions, pathogenesis, control and other issues. Students in the Virology Program join a diverse, supportive and collaborative research community using and developing cutting-edge approaches in genomics, genome-wide molecular genetics, computational biology and bioinformatics, live cell and cryo-electron microscopy, structural biology, and other fields. Campus strengths in virology are further illustrated and CMB Virology Program activities are enhanced by highly productive interactions with groups such as the Human Cancer Virology Program of the UW Carbone Cancer Center, UW’s Institute for Molecular Virology and Global Health Institute, and the Rowe Center for Research in Virology at the Morgridge Institute for Research.

Headshot of Paul Ahlquist

Focus Group Chair Paul Ahlquist
Oncology Department
Molecular mechanisms of virus replication, gene expression and host interactions

Focus Group Members

Curtis Brandt

Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences Department

Virology, Herpes Simplex Virus, antivirals, gene therapy

(608) 262-8054

550a Bardeen Medical Laboratory
470 N Charter St
Madison, WI 53706

David Evans

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Department

Host-pathogen interactions for HIV and SIV

(608) 265-1485

Room 126
585 Science Dr
Madison, WI 53711

Thomas Friedrich

Pathobiological Sciences Department

Immunity to influenza and AIDS viruses

(608) 265-3381

Room 127
585 Science Dr
Madison, WI 53711

Paul Friesen

Biochemistry Department

Apoptosis, programmed cell death, mechanisms of host-virus interactions, regulation of transcription, baculovirus evolution

(608) 262-7774

721a Robert M Bock Lab
1525 Linden Dr
Madison, WI 53706

Eric Johannsen

Medicine Department

Transcription, Growth Transformation, Notch Signaling

(608) 262-9952

6531 Wi Institute Medical Research
1111 Highland Ave
Madison, WI 53705

Rob Kalejta

Oncology Department

Manipulation of the cell cycle by Human Cylomegalovirus

(608) 265-5546

641 Robert M Bock Lab
1525 Linden Dr
Madison, WI 53706

Yoshihiro Kawaoka

Pathobiological Sciences Department

Molecular pathogenesis of influenza and Ebola viruses

(608) 265-4925

Room 230
575 Science Dr
Madison, WI 53711

Shannon Kenney

Oncology Department

Epstein-Barr Virus pathogenesis & treatment

(608) 265-0533

Wi Institute Medical Research
1111 Highland Ave
Madison, WI 53705

Randall Kimple

Human Oncology Department

HPV associated cancers; therapeutic resistance in cancer

(608) 263-3611

3107 Wi Institute Medical Research
1111 Highland Ave
Madison, WI 53705

Robert Kirchdoerfer

Biochemistry Department

Single-particle cryo-electron microscopy of viral proteins

205A Bock Laboratories
1525 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706

Paul Lambert

Oncology Department

Molecular genetics of papillomaviruses

(608) 262-8533

6459 Wi Institute Medical Research
1111 Highland Ave
Madison, WI 53705

Dan Loeb

Oncology Department

Molecular biology of hepatitis B viruses


6453 WIMR
1111 Highland Ave.
Madison, WI 53706

Andrew Mehle

Medical Microbiology & Immunology Department

Influenza virus replication machinery

(608) 263-1978

3305 Microbial Sciences Building
1550 Linden Dr
Madison, WI 53706

Donna Neumann

Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Department

3D chromatin control of DNA viruses


677A MSC
1300 University Ave.
Madison, WI 53706

David O'Connor

Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Department

Pathogenetics of SIV and HIV Infections

(608) 890-0845

Room 135
585 Science Dr
Madison, WI 53711

Shelby O'Connor

Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Department

Host immunity to SIV/HIV and Mtb

(608) 890-0843

Room 132
585 Science Dr
Madison, WI 53711

Aurelie Rakotondrafara

Plant Pathology Department

RNA, translation, plant virus, IRES, viral resistance

(608) 890-1871

284 Russell Laboratories
1630 Linden Dr
Madison, WI 53706

Nathan Sherer

Oncology Department

Cell biology of HIV replication

(608) 890-2551

501 Robert M Bock Lab
1525 Linden Dr
Madison, WI 53706

Marulasiddappa Suresh

Pathobiological Sciences Department

T cell responses to viral infections

(608) 265-9791

3174 Veterinary Medicine Building
2015 Linden Dr
Madison, WI 53706

Elizabeth Wright

Biochemistry Department

Cryo-electron microscopy of biological macromolecular machines


471B Biochemistry Laboratories
433 Babcock Drive
Madison, WI 53706

John Yin

Chemical & Biological Engineering Department

Molecular virology, computational biology, biochemical engineering

(608) 316-4323

3172 Wi Inst For Discovery
333 N Randall Ave
Madison, WI 53715