Christiane Wobus, Ph.D.
The Wobus lab is interested in mechanisms of norovirus and astrovirus - host interactions.
Noroviruses and astroviruses are major causes of viral gastroenteritis worldwide resulting in substantial morbidity and economic loss. For example, human noroviruses cause an estimated 21 million cases of gastroenteritis per year in the USA alone. However, despite the importance for public health, little or no information is available about the biology of these viruses 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 undertake a detailed analysis of different aspects of norovirus biology. More recently, we have expanded our studies to include human norovirus to compare and contrast the human and murine viruses, and human astroviruses. 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. We are also using the human intestinal organoid systems to study human astrovirus biology.
Current studies in the lab are focused on: 1) the role of secretory IgA and commensal bacteria during viral pathogenesis, 2) the role of the intracellular metabolome during viral infections, 3) human norovirus infection in human B cells, 4) development of human intestinal organoid/immune cell co-cultures to investigate the host response to astro- and norovirus infections.
Research Opportunities for Rotating Students
1) human norovirus interaction with primary human B cells, or human intestinal organoid/immune cell co-cultures
2) metabolomic requirements for murine norovirus infection in murine macrophages
3) host response to human astrovirus infection in human intestinal enteroids