Qualley research group, Fall ’16

L to R: Maddie Mason, Sarah Cooper, Kisa Watson, Brooklyn Walsh, Kristianna Saelens, Dominic Qualley

Research in my lab is focused on the structural and nucleic acid binding proteins found in viruses. One area of interest is the role of the Gag protein in retroviral assembly and genome packaging. We are using bovine leukemia virus (BLV) as an animal model for human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV). We will also begin study of feline leukemia virus Gag.

Recently, we have started a project involving the capsid (C) protein of West Nile virus. This is a medically-relevant pathogen that currently has no cure or vaccine, and study of its assembly mechanisms could yield valuable information that could lead to effective treatment.

We use a number of techniques from the areas of molecular biology, biochemistry, and biophysics to investigate these problems. These include polymerase chain reaction, directional cloning, recombinant protein expression and purification, in vitro transcription and labeling of RNA, fluorescence anisotropy, small-angle X-ray scattering, and computational methods such as docking simulations and molecular dynamics modeling.

Current members:

Dr. Dominic Qualley – PI                                                     Flag of Minnesota

Sarah Cooper – sophomore Biochemistry major           Flag of Indiana

Maddie Mason – freshman Biochemistry major           Flag of Tennessee

Kristianna Saelens – junior Animal Science major      Flag of Maryland

Brooklyn Walsh – senior Biochemistry major              Flag of Georgia

Kisa Watson – senior Biochemistry major