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Presented By: Chemical Engineering

ChE SEMINAR: “Infection-on-a-chip: a platform for studying virus infection of human hosts"

Susan Daniel, Cornell University

Alt text: U-M ChE logo and text that reads "Seminar" Alt text: U-M ChE logo and text that reads "Seminar"
Alt text: U-M ChE logo and text that reads "Seminar"
The ChE seminar series features guest speakers. U-M ChE faculty and graduate students are especially encouraged to attend.

Viral infection begins when a virus particle breeches the host plasma membrane and successfully delivers its genome into that cell. Though these processes must occur for every viral pathogen that infects a host cell, the entry route can vary markedly depending on the viral agent, the host cell type, and the local microenvironmental conditions. Virus particles are responsive to their environment and use cues from it to adapt and successfully time the entry process into the host cell. Thus, it is a continual evolutionary battle between the host and the virus to thwart infection and disease. This battle is biased toward the host prevailing when scientists and medicinal chemists develop antiviral drugs and strategies that can block viral entry. The rational design of antivirals is aided by tools that allow entry processes to be examined directly, for example, the binding to a receptor on a host cell and the fusion of the viral membrane with the host membrane for genome delivery. The resolution of these processes with live cells is difficult and indirect. Here we describe a new platform for measuring these viral entry processes using a bioelectronic biomembrane chip. We illustrate the power of the approach using SARS-CoV-2 and influenza as examples of replicating the infection process on chip.

Dr. Susan Daniel is the Fred H. Rhodes Professor of Chemical Engineering and the William C. Hooey Director of the Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Cornell University. Her research team strives to understand phenomena at biological interfaces and chemically patterned surfaces that interact with soft matter – liquids; polymers; and biological materials, like cells, viruses, proteins, and lipids. Her team pioneered “biomembrane chips” to conduct cell-free, biophysical studies of mammalian, bacterial, and plant cell membranes, and recently merged this technology with organic electronic devices for expanded sensing capabilities. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and the National Science Foundation Career Award. She has published in Science, Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, and other top journals.
Alt text: U-M ChE logo and text that reads "Seminar" Alt text: U-M ChE logo and text that reads "Seminar"
Alt text: U-M ChE logo and text that reads "Seminar"

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