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Which virus do we study?

Schematic of a coronavirus

Viruses infect all cellular life; they are everywhere.


Here at Sewanee we are interested in coronaviruses (CoV), which include the zoonotic human pathogens SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2. In order to understand more about these human coronaviruses, we use a murine coronavirus, mouse hepatitis virus (MHV-A59), as a model system.


This system enables students to study viral replication safely and contribute directly to our knowledge about these medically and agriculturally important pathogens. 


Our long-term research goal is to learn more about how coronaviruses replicate and evolve. To do this, we rely heavily on biochemistry, virology, genetics, molecular biology, and evolutionary biology. We hope our research will inform the development of future antiviral therapeutics. 


We're unique in comparison to many virology labs; our research is driven exclusively by a team of hard-working undergraduates. Our broad-reaching interests facilitate a training environment conducive for students pursuing a wide range of careers. 

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