James TerryGraduate Assistant Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology
Flavivirus replication proteins are key operators in viral infection and the ensuing disease that cause significant morbidity and mortality around the globe. I study the operation and interactions between nonstructural replication proteins in an effort to open avenues for interrupting this process and deterring viral propagation following infection. My main work focuses on studying the interactions between flavivirus nonstructural proteins 3 and 5 (NS3 and NS5) that come together to form a replication complex. This complex churns out a tremendous amount of viral genomes that are used to infect more cells, furthering disease progression within a patient and allowing insect vectors to spread the virus to a new host. By using cross-linking mass spectrometry, I am working towards mapping the key interfaces between NS3 and NS5 that are necessary for operation of the replication complex. This method ties these two proteins together from infected cells in their natural state. With mass spectrometry we blow these proteins to bits and identify which chunks of NS3 are bound to NS5, thus allowing us to recreate the structural interactions that are necessary for viral infection. With this information new avenues for the development flavivirus therapeutics can be pursued that interrupt these interactions, rendering the complex useless and stopping infection in its tracks. In my free time, I enjoy my hobbies such as cooking for my found Colorado family, running Dungeons and Dragons campaigns for fellow nerds, being the best dog-uncle for many canines throughout the Northern Colorado region, and riding my motorcycle along the winding roads of the Colorado Rockies. My insistence on the latter hobby in conjunction with my clumsy nature deeply concerns my family and friends, rendering me always on the verge of death but repeatedly baffling Christendom by continuing to live. I love music of all kinds and insist on playing music in the lab that swings wildly from genre to genre, inflicting an auditory whiplash that would in normal circumstances warrant legal action with the aid of an ambulance-chasing lawyer. I am consistently dumbfounded by my luck to have such a talented and supportive group of colleagues in the Geiss Lab and thankful that I can participate in such exciting research.