Christiane Wobus, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Accepting Students

Biography

 

Dr. Christiane Wobus is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Michigan Medical School. She joined the department in 2007 and was subsequently promoted to Associate Professor in 2014. In 2014, she was also awarded the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Humboldt Foundation in Germany. Before joining the University of Michigan, Dr. Wobus was a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, where she co-discovered murine norovirus and subsequently developed the first cell culture system for noroviruses. She received her undergraduate training in Germany before moving to Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, where she obtained her M.Sc. in 1997 studying the plant virus pea enation mosaic virus. She then returned to Germany for her doctoral studies on adeno-associated viruses at the German Cancer Research Institute, Heidelberg, and obtained her Ph.D. degree in 2000. Currently, Dr. Wobus’ research focuses on norovirus – host interactions. Her long-term goal is to identify conserved features important during human and murine norovirus infections that may ultimately lead to the development of effective prevention and control strategies for human noroviruses, the major cause of non-bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide. At the national and international level, Dr. Wobus was appointed to the editorial board of Journal of General Virology in 2012 for a 5 year term, PLoS One journal in 2016, and the Journal of Virology in 2017. She currently serves on the American Society of Virology Program committee.
 

 

Research Interests

The Wobus lab is interested in mechanisms of norovirus - host interactions in vitro and in vivo.

Human noroviruses are the major cause of nonbacterial epidemic gastroenteritis worldwide resulting in substantial morbidity and economic loss. They cause an estimated 23 million cases of gastroenteritis per year in the USA alone and are frequent visitors to cruise ships, hospitals, daycare centers and other places were crowds gather. However, despite the importance for public health, human norovirus research has until very recently been hampered by the lack of a small animal model and in vitro replication system. Therefore, little or no information is available in many areas of norovirus biology and no directed disease prevention and control strategies exist for these viruses.

With our discovery of the first murine norovirus (MNV-1) and hence the availability of a small animal model, the development of the first in vitro culture system and reverse genetics system for a norovirus, we have a unique system to begin a detailed analysis of different aspects of norovirus biology. Current studies in the lab are focused on: 1) mechanisms of MNV transport across the intestinal epithelial barrier, 2) the role of secretory IgA and commensal bacteria during viral pathogenesis, 3) the role of cellular deubiquitinases and intracellular metabolome during MNV infection in macrophages.

More recently, we have expanded our studies to include human norovirus to compare and contrast the human and murine viruses. We developed the first small animal model for human noroviruses and established the two new culture models for human noroviruses (human BJAB B cells and human intestinal organoids) in the laboratory. Our work with human noroviruses focuses on: 1) developing human intestinal organoid/immune cell co-cultures that enhance human norovirus infection, 2) identifying cellular and viral factors of host susceptibility in the mouse model, and 3) human norovirus interaction with primary human B cells.

Research Opportunities for Rotating Students

Rotation projects:

1) human norovirus interaction with primary human B cells
2) human norovirus interaction with human intestinal organoid/immune cell co-cultures
3) metabolomic requirements for murine norovirus infection in murine macrophages

Publications

Current Student Advisees

Past Student Advisees