The Sun lab is located in the Immunology and Microbiology department of the Medical School at University of Rochester. We are recruiting a post-doctoral researcher/scholar or a lab technician to start immediately. The lab focuses on understanding molecular mechanisms of the generation of defective viral genomes (DVGs). DVGs are a discrete subset of viral products generated during viral infection. They are truncations of the viral genome that lack the ability to complete replication unless complemented with a homologous helper virus. Evidences show that they play a critical role in viral pathogenesis. My lab will use Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a leading cause of respiratory illness in children worldwide, as the model to understand how DVGs are generated during infection and how manipulation of their generation impact infection outcome.
So far, there are no vaccines or effective treatments available for RSV. RSV generates one specific type of DVGs, copy-back DVGs (cbDVGs). Despite growing evidence suggesting that cbDVGs impact RSV pathogenesis in mice and in humans, the mechanisms driving cbDVG generation remain unknown. This is largely due to the highly diverse species and kinetics of DVG generation during viral infection, and the lack of tools to examine them systematically. In order to overcome this problem, we developed an algorithm to survey entire cbDVG populations during infection. We have found that despite variation in cbDVG species among RSV infections, cbDVG generation is directed by certain genomic signals. The fact that de novo DVG generation is not stochastic strongly implies that virus and even host use unknown mechanisms to regulate DVG generation. We are studying the mechanism of cbDVG generation and identifying factors that influence their generation. The goal of current research is to identify those unknown factors and expand the study to other viral families.
Several questions will be focused on in the lab including:
1. What is the molecular mechanism regulating cbDVG generation in RSV?
2. Can we alter viral pathogenesis by manipulating de novo cbDVG generation during viral replication?
3. Are there common mechaniams controlling cbDVGs generation among different viral families, including paramyxoviruses (measles and parainfluenza), pneumoviruses (metapeumoviruses and RSV), and filoviruses (Ebola)?
4. What are the host factors impacting cbDVG generation?
5. How does the microenvironment influence cbDVG generation?
Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and CV to Dr. Yan Sun (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please visit our lab website https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/people/31871877-yan-sun.