BioE Seminar: Engineering Viruses for Gene Therapy
Thursday, March 21, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Fitzpatrick Center Schiciano Auditorium Side B, room 1466
Aravind Asokan, Ph.D., Professor, Surgery, Duke University School of Medicine
Viruses are remarkably plastic entities. The virion shell, in particular can be engineered to enable novel functions. One such example is the family of Adeno-associated viruses (AAV), which are currently at the forefront of human gene therapy applications. Progress in understanding the structure, biology and immunology of different naturally occurring AAV isolates in the past decade is now being applied toward engineering new, synthetic AAV strains with favorable gene transfer profiles. This talk will provide a roadmap for manipulating virus-receptor interactions and engineering stealth viruses through structure-guided evolution.
Dr. Asokan is Professor & Director of Gene Therapy in the Duke Department of Surgery with a secondary appointment in Molecular Genetics & Microbiology. Originally trained as a chemist, his lab blends the fields of protein engineering, RNA biology and virology to enable gene therapy and gene editing platforms. His lab is focused on translating these innovative synthetic virology platforms into transformative, new medicines. He also founded several gene therapy startups (StrideBio, TorqueBio) that are working to advance these therapeutic modalities. Prior to joining Duke, he was on the faculty in the Departments of Genetics and Biochemistry & Biophysics at UNC Chapel Hill, where he also obtained his doctoral degree