Strubi Profile

Thomas Bowden

Post Doctoral Research Associate

My research interests are focused on the use of biophysical techniques to understand extracellular signalling events mediated by cell surface glycoproteins and how viruses utilize these glycoproteins to gain cell entry. I am particularly interested in studying tropical and exotic viruses for which there are limited vaccines or treatments and which are often underrepresented in terms of academic and pharmaceutical interest. I utilize molecular biology, electron microscopy, and X-ray crystallography to elucidate the molecular-level structures of viral envelope glycoproteins from emergent and pathogenic RNA viruses (alone and in complex with their host receptors). Viruses of particular interest include the henipaviruses from the Paramyxoviridae, New World hemorrhagic fever viruses from the Arenaviridae, and orthobunyaviruses from the Bunyaviridae. Our biophysical studies have revealed common strategies by which viruses have evolved to interact with natural hosts and also support molecular-level rationales for how viruses can be transmitted to unrelated organisms and thus pose severe health risks. Ultimately, the structural information revealed from this work is being aimed towards the development of therapeutic antibodies and antiviral reagents which can inhibit viral entry processes.