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Lab Members

Dan Bolon

Daniel Bolon, PhD

Principal Investigator

LRB 922
Tel: 508-856-3588

Daniel Bolon majored in biochemistry at Duke University where he received his bachelor degree in 1997. He received his Ph.D. degree in 2002 from Caltech where he studied computational enzyme design with Steve Mayo. As a postdoctoral fellow at MIT, he worked with Bob Sauer investigating the mechanism of adapter mediated protein degradation. In 2005, he joined the faculty in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. His lab developed the EMPIRIC approach to systematically quantify the impacts of all point mutations on protein function. His lab continues to utilize protein fitness landscapes to understand mechanism in protein function and evolution.

Mohan Somasundaran, PhD

Mohan Somasundaran, PhD

Associate Professor

LRB 960D
Tel: 508-856-4408

For his PhD, Mohan Somasundaran investigated protein-ligand interactions of sialic acid binding lectin (Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Calcutta and Stevens Institute of Technology, NJ). His postdoctoral studies were on lysosomal storage diseases (Washington University, St. Louis), and on HIV-1 cytopathology (Worcester Foundation/UMass Chan Medical School). He continued as faculty at UMass Chan Medical School to pursue molecular virology projects focusing on genotypic and phenotypic factors of cell-entry, replication and donor-to-recipient transmission of HIV, EBV, CMV and emerging infectious human pathogens (SARS-CoV). He was the Director of BSL-3 Core Virus Lab, and is member of UMass IBC. His research interests are to: 

  1. Develop new molecular, cellular and molecular virology techniques for application in various research and translational projects specifically related to HIV-1, Influenza virus
    • Reverse genetics assays
    • Structure-function assays for HIV-proteins and host-cell restriction (Apobec3) proteins
    • Structure-based drug design
    • Pyrosequencing of viral genomes
    • Virus detection and quantification assays
    • Point of Care early diagnostic assays for human pathogens
  1. Utilize state-of-the-art structural biology techniques (i.e. Cryo-EM/ET) and interface with virology techniques to investigate virus structure vs infectivity, replication, evolution/fitness of Influenza (IAV) and HIV-1
Julia Flynn

Julia Flynn, PhD

Assistant Professor

LRB 960D
Tel: 508-856-4418

Julia Flynn graduated from Brown University with a degree in Biochemistry. Her undergraduate thesis work involved characterizing mutants of the chaperone GroEL in Jorg Martin's laboratory. She received her Ph.D. from MIT in Tania Baker's lab investigating the role of the AAA+ protease, ClpXP, in regulating cellular protein turnover. Currently, Julia uses EMPIRIC to determine the fitness landscape of all single mutations of Hsp90 under various environmental conditions to provide insight into both the function and evolution of the chaperone. In her free time, Julia enjoys petting her cats and reading books in the sun.

Gily Nachum

Gila Schneider Nachum, PhD

Senior Research Scientist

LRB 960E
Tel: 508-856-4418

Gily graduated and received her Ph.D. from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel where she studied metal binding peptides in the water fern Azolla with Elisha Tel-Or. Her lab project involves investigating the correlation between partially active mutants of HIV-1 protease, identified by viral screening using the EMPIRIC method, with their function in vitro, using a variety of enzymatic assays. Aside from scientific endeavors, she loves summer and sunny days which often give her time to indulge in the pleasures of reading and swimming.

Neha Samant

Neha S. Samant

Graduate Student

LRB 960C
Tel: 508-856-4418

Neha obtained a B.Tech degree in India and then earned her Masters in Science in Biotechnology at University of Texas San Antonio in 2012. She then worked for two years in Genomic Medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center Texas where she was a part of a team focusing on understanding of the epigenome in cancer progression. Currently, as a PhD student in the Bolon lab, she focuses on using yeast genetics and the EMPIRIC approach combined with virology to investigate drug resistance and evolution of the HIV protease substrate. Besides science, she enjoys travelling, camping, watching movies and painting.

Vivian Saravanan

Vivian Saravanan

Research Associate

LRB 960
Tel: 508-856-4418