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Munro Lab


The Munro laboratory is located within the Department of Microbiology and Physiological Systems at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. We are a group of virologists and biophysicists developing and applying quantitative approaches to infectious disease research. Our favorite questions relate to visualizing the structural dynamics of viral envelope glycoproteins during entry into cells and engagement with the host immune system, and the folding and dynamics of viral RNA genomes. All our projects share common methodological themes aimed at using fluorescence to visualize dynamic events--such as conformational dynamics, binding events, and membrane fusion--at the single-molecule level.


 

James Munro, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator
 
I am a biological physicist by training, working to apply the tools of biophysics and computational biology to address pressing questions in infectious disease research. I am fascinated by the stealth and simplicity of viruses, and aim to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying their replication. I am an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Physiological Systems, with a join appoint in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology. I am always eager to hear from students, postdocs, and other scientists interested in working at the interface of biophysics and virology.
 
Prof. James Munro Associate Professor  Google Scholar    NCBI    
 

Lab Members


  I am interested in the mechanisms of virus fusion and antibody neutralization. Previously I used traditional virology techniques to study cell infection and antibody neutralization of HIV-1 and Dengue virus. In the Munro lab I am using various biophysical techniques to study how single Ebola virus envelope proteins and individual pseudovirions behave during infection and neutralization. Most of my work is focused on emerging and reemerging human viruses, but I love all RNA viruses equally.
Natasha Durham, Ph.D.

Instructor  
 
 
  I am a Biochemist and Molecular Virologist with interest in studying cell entry mechanisms of viruses through a combination of biophysical, biochemical and physiological approaches. Currently in the Munro lab, I am studying the molecular dynamics of both HIV and SARS-CoV-2 viral spikes and their role in cell entry. This knowledge is essential for the development of both immunogens to generate effective vaccines and novel therapeutic alternatives to prevent infection and eliminate infected cells.
Marco Diaz, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow  
  I completed my PhD from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi following which I worked as a research fellow with Prof. Anne Ulrich at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. My previous work was focused on membrane active peptides, where I studied their mechanism of interaction with lipid vesicles and employed them for delivery of clinically relevant biomolecules. Currently, I am studying membrane fusion mediated by the Ebola virus glycoprotein using biophysical techniques such as FCS and smFRET.
Aastha Jain, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow  
 

Alumni


Robert Blakemore, PhD Student, Molecular Microbiology (Tufts), 2020

Ramesh Govindan, MD/PhD Student, Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology (Tufts), 2020

Uriel Bulow, MD/PhD Student, Molecular Microbiology (Tufts), 2020

Angela Howard, PhD Student, Molecular Microbiology (Tufts), 2020

Benjamin Brigham, PhD Student, Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology (Tufts), 2019

Dibyendu Kumar Das, Postdoctoral Associate, 2019

Fernando Senjobe, PREP Scholar (Tufts), 2019

Nordine Backouche, Postdoctoral Associate, 2018

Veronica Morales, BDBS Summer Student (Tufts), 2017