Christiane Wobus, Ph.D.
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
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