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Kelly Lee Receives NIH Grant to Study Influenza Virus


The Lee lab, L-R: Long Gui, Mike Guttman, Natalie Garcia, and Tad Davenport, discuss membrane fusion at a recent conference in Whistler, B.C.   Missing: Kelly Lee (or is he??)

Dr. Kelly Lee, Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, has been awarded a $1.45 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study some of the more elusive but fundamental aspects of influenza virus membrane fusion. Dr. Lee will focus on determining what drives the fusion process, in addition to the nature of membrane deformations during fusion, which currently is not well understood.

Using electron cryotomography, small-angle X-ray scattering with 3-D shape reconstruction, and Hydrogen-Deuterium exchange with mass spectrometry analysis, the Lee lab will study the interplay between the hemagglutinin fusion protein, the viral matrix layer, and host cell membranes during fusion of the influenza virus with the host. In addition, through a variety of collaborations, the Lee lab is starting to investigate the mechanism of action of small molecule compounds that inhibit the fusion process.

“We’re delighted to have received the NIH support, and look forward to learning a lot about the fundamental physical event, protein-mediated membrane fusion, that underlies cell invasion by an important human pathogen,” said Kelly.

Congratulations to Kelly and the Lee lab on receiving support for this exciting research!


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