2023 October Virtual Seminar
Chair: Prof James Wood, University of Cambridge and UK-ICN lead for One Health and Zoonoses
Dr Tyler Starr, University of Utah – Molecular evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and related bat coronaviruses
Tyler Starr is a new Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Utah. Dr. Starr received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from the University of Chicago, where he studied protein evolution in the lab of Dr. Joe Thornton. He then moved to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center to conduct postdoctoral research on viral evolution in the lab of Dr. Jesse Bloom. Dr. Starr’s research explores the evolutionary arms races between viruses and host factors involved in infection and immunity. Dr. Starr uses high-throughput “deep mutational scanning” assays to characterize the protein-protein interactions between viral glycoproteins, host receptors, and antiviral antibodies. These experiments reveal the biophysical details of protein sequence-structure-function relationships and provide maps for understanding viral evolution. Since 2020, Dr. Starr has applied these approaches to study SARS-CoV-2, informing ongoing efforts in viral forecasting and aiding in the development of vaccines and monoclonal antibodies to combat COVID-19. His lab will continue to extend these approaches to understand the deeper molecular evolutionary features that drive the emergence of animal viruses that spill over into humans and to inform the development of vaccines and antibodies that can treat or prevent future viral spillovers.
Speaker 2: TBC