Current Lab Members

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Katya Heldwein, PhD

Principal Investigator

Katya received her PhD from Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, OR where she studied ligand recognition by bacterial transcription regulators using x-ray crystallography in the laboratory of Richard Brennan. She then did her postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School in the laboratory of Stephen Harrison where she initially worked on clathrin adaptor complexes and later delved into herpesvirus cell entry. She opened her own laboratory at Tufts University School of Medicine in the Fall of 2006.

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Elizabeth Draganova, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Elizabeth received her PhD in Chemistry from Georgia State University after completing her BS in Biochemistry from Kennesaw State University. She is interested in understanding the structural and mechanistic features of the HSV-1 nuclear egress complex by utilizing a variety of biochemical and biophysical techniques.

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Gonzalo Gonzalez Del Pino, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

 

Gonzo received his PhD and Master's degrees in Biochemistry from Harvard University in 2020, where he studied the structure and regulation of BRAF and MEK1, two kinases central to the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade. He graduated from the University of Miami with Bachelor's degrees in French and Biochemistry. His current work focuses on developing a pipeline using a synthetic nanobody library to select chaperones for X-ray crystallography and cryoelectron microscopy of the HSV-1 fusogen, gB, in its prefusion and intermediate conformations.

Nathalie Lavoie

PhD Student, Molecular Microbiology Program

 

Nathalie received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Boston College and a Masters in Spatial Analysis for Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. She is using quantitative fluorescence and cryo-electron microscopy to study how the nuclear egress coat (NEC) assembles in contact with the capsid. 

Jose Martin Ramirez

MD/PhD Student, Molecular Microbiology Program

 

Martin received his BS in Biochemistry & Biology from California State University - San Bernadino in San Bernadino, CA. He is using single particle tracking (SPT) and total internal reflection microscopy in conjunction with the pseudo type VSV to study the intermediate mechanisms of viral entry and the specific roles of gB, gH, gL and gD. 

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Bing Dai

PhD Student, CMDB Program

 

Bing received a Bachelors in Medicinal Chemistry from China Pharmaceutical University in Nanjing, China and a Masters Pharmacology and Drug Development from Tufts. His project focuses on identifying host proteins that facilitate HSV nuclear egress and determining the mechanisms by which they do so.

Ariana Calderon-Zavala

PhD Student, Molecular Microbiology Program

 

Ariana received her Bachelors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. She completed her post-baccalaureate in Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology at Tufts University GSBS in Boston, MA.  Her project  focuses on the role of the nuclear egress complex in HSV-1 and related gamma-herpesviruses.

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Maria Krasilnikov

PhD Student, Molecular Microbiology Program

 

Maria received her BA in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California Berkeley. Her current project focuses on characterizing the structure, function, and interactions of HSV glycoproteins to better understand the intermolecular signals used to trigger viral membrane fusion. 

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Lucas Polack

PREP Scholar

 

Lucas received his BS in Cell and Cellular and Molecular Biology from Johns Hopkins University. He is working on studying host factors involved in nuclear egress. 

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