471d Life Sciences Center
In Sarafianos’ lab, “war” has been declared on several types of viruses, and lab workers are devising weapons designed to “stop them in their tracks.” Sarafianos uses high-tech X-ray crystallography and computer modeling to discover the three-dimensional structures of viral proteins; this reveals important details on how they replicate themselves. Armed with that knowledge, Sarafianos develops new molecules with just the right shape to fit into a virus’ “binding pocket,” effectively blocking the critical spot where replication takes place. Lab members are using these methods to create weapons to fight the viruses involved in HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, foot and mouth disease, SARS, and the relatively unexplored XMRV virus. Their research has contributed to the development of a potential microbicide against HIV, and other compounds expected to suppress the spread of the foot and mouth disease virus, or block SARS infection.