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Christiane Wobus

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Primary Appointment: Microbiology and Immunology
Primary PIBS Dept.: Microbiology and Immunology
PubMed Name: wobus ce
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  Human noroviruses are the major cause of nonbacterial epidemic gastroenteritis worldwide resulting in substantial morbidity and economic loss. They cause an estimated 23 million cases of gastroenteritis per year in the USA alone and are frequent visitors to cruise ships, hospitals, daycare centers and other places were crowds gather. However, despite the importance for public health, human norovirus research has been severely hampered by the lack of a small animal model and in vitro replication system. Therefore, little or no information is available in many areas of norovirus biology and no directed disease prevention and control strategies exist for these viruses.

My laboratory is interested in the mechanisms of norovirus – host cell interaction both in vitro and in vivo. We primarily utilize the murine norovirus (MNV) model because it is the only norovirus system that combines the availability of a small animal model, tissue culture system and reverse genetics system. However, we have also begun to expand our studies to include human noroviruses (HuNoV) with the goal of performing comparative studies between MNV and HuNoV to better understand similarities and differences between these closely related viruses. Our long-term goal is to identify conserved features important during norovirus infection, including new drug targets, that may lead to the development of effective prevention and control strategies for human noroviruses, the major cause of non-bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide.

Currently my research is focused on the following areas:

1) Mechanisms of norovirus interaction with the intestinal epithelial barrier
2) The role of deubiquitinases during norovirus infection
3) Development of effective norovirus antivirals
4) Development of human norovirus cell culture and small animal models
5) Gaining a better understanding of norovirus evolution