University of Washington School of Public Health

Michael Emerman - SPH Faculty Bio

Michael Emerman


Affiliate Professor, Microbiology
Affiliate Professor, Global Health

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
1100 Fairview Ave. N
Seattle, WA 98109
Tel: 206-667-5058

Research Interests

Function of HIV Genes; HIV host cell interactions. This laboratory studies the regulatory and structural genes of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in order to understand the molecular basis for its pathogenicity. Much of our focus is on identifying and characterizing host cell functions that are used to serve specific functions for viral replication or else host functions that oppose viral replication HIV infection of non-dividing cells: HIV is unusual in its ability to infect non-dividing cells such as terminally differentiated macrophages. With most retroviruses, the cell must pass through mitosis for the viral DNA to enter the nucleus. However, HIV can enter the nucleus at any stage of the cell cycle.

We are trying to understand events that occur immediately after the virus has entered the cell that allow HIV to subsequently enter the nucleus Intrinsic host defense: Primates encode a number of gene families that limit or restrict retroviral infections.

In collaboration with the lab of Harmit Malik at the FHCRC we are studying the evolution of function of these intrinsic anti-viral genes. We have found that some of these genes have been rapidly evolving throughout the history of primates and some have been under selective pressure in recent human history. We hope that the study of the function and evolution of these genes will help us to understand modern human susceptibility to current pandemic viruses.


BS   Biochemistry, Ohio State University, 1981
PhD   Molecular Biology, Virology, University of Wisconsin, 1986

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