W W Newcomb

Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States

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Publications (80)375.28 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: A growing number of reports indicate the frequent presence of DNA sequences and gene products of human cytomegalovirus in various tumors as compared to adjacent normal tissues, the brain tumors being studied most intensely. The mechanisms underlying the tropism of human cytomegalovirus to the tumor cells or to the cells of tumor origin, as well as the role of the host's genetic background in virus-associated oncogenesis are not well understood. It is also not clear why cytomegalovirus can be detected in many but not in all tumor specimens. Our in silico prediction results indicate that microRNA-34a may be involved in replication of some human DNA viruses by targeting and downregulating the genes encoding a diverse group of proteins, such as platelet-derived growth factor receptor-alpha, complement component receptor 2, herpes simplex virus entry mediators A, B, and C, and CD46. Notably, while their functions vary, these surface molecules have one feature in common: they serve as cellular entry receptors for human DNA viruses (cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, human herpes virus 6, herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2, and adenoviruses) that are either proven or suspected to be linked with malignancies. MicroRNA-34a is strictly dependent on its transcriptional activator tumor suppressor protein p53, and both p53 and microRNA-34a are frequently mutated or downregulated in various cancers. We hypothesize that p53-microRNA-34a axis may alter susceptibility of cells to infection with some viruses that are detected in tumors and either proven or suspected to be associated with tumor initiation and progression.
    Medical Hypotheses 05/2013; · 1.18 Impact Factor
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    William W Newcomb, Jay C Brown
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    ABSTRACT: Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) was shown to contain catalase, an enzyme able to detoxify hydrogen peroxide by converting it to water and oxygen. Studies with a catalase inhibitor indicated that virus-associated catalase can have a role in protecting the virus from oxidative inactivation. HSV-1 was found to be more sensitive to killing by hydrogen peroxide in the presence of a catalase inhibitor than in its absence. The results suggest a protective role for catalase during the time HSV-1 spends in the oxidizing environment outside a host cell.
    Journal of Virology 08/2012; 86(21):11931-4. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Initiation of infection by herpes family viruses involves a step in which most of the virus tegument becomes detached from the capsid. Detachment takes place in the host cell cytosol near the virus entry site and it is followed by dispersal of tegument proteins and disappearance of the tegument as a distinct entity. Here we describe the results of experiments designed to test the idea that the reducing environment of the cytosol may contribute to tegument detachment and disassembly. Non-ionic detergent was used to remove the membrane of purified herpes simplex virus under control and reducing conditions. The effects on the tegument were then examined by SDS-PAGE and electron microscopy. Protein analysis demonstrated that most major tegument proteins were removed under both oxidizing and reducing conditions except for UL49 which required a reducing environment. It is proposed therefore that the reducing conditions in the cytosol are involved in removal of UL49 protein. Electron microscopic analysis revealed that capsids produced under oxidizing conditions contained a coating of protein that was absent in reduced virions and which correlated uniquely with the presence of UL49. This capsid-associated layer is suggested to be the location of UL49 in the extracted virion.
    Virology 06/2012; 431(1-2):71-9. · 3.35 Impact Factor
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    Rebecca M Mingo, Jun Han, William W Newcomb, Jay C Brown
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    ABSTRACT: In the final stages of the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) life cycle, a viral nucleocapsid buds into a vesicle of trans-Golgi network (TGN)/endosome origin, acquiring an envelope and an outer vesicular membrane. The virus-containing vesicle then traffics to the plasma membrane where it fuses, exposing a mature virion. Although the process of directed egress has been studied in polarized epithelial cell lines, less work has been done in nonpolarized cell types. In this report, we describe a study of HSV-1 egress as it occurs in nonpolarized cells. The examination of infected Vero cells by electron, confocal, and total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy revealed that HSV-1 was released at specific pocket-like areas of the plasma membrane that were found along the substrate-adherent surface and cell-cell-adherent contacts. Both the membrane composition and cytoskeletal structure of egress sites were found to be modified by infection. The plasma membrane at virion release sites was heavily enriched in viral glycoproteins. Small glycoprotein patches formed early in infection, and virus became associated with these areas as they expanded. Glycoprotein-rich areas formed independently from virion trafficking as confirmed by the use of a UL25 mutant with a defect in capsid nuclear egress. The depolymerization of the cytoskeleton indicated that microtubules were important for the trafficking of virions and glycoproteins to release sites. In addition, the actin cytoskeleton was found to be necessary for maintaining the integrity of egress sites. When actin was depolymerized, the glycoprotein concentrations dispersed across the membrane, as did the surface-associated virus. Lastly, viral glycoprotein E appeared to function in a different manner in nonpolarized cells compared to previous studies of egress in polarized epithelial cells; the total amount of virus released at egress sites was slightly increased in infected Vero cells when gE was absent. However, gE was important for egress site formation, as Vero cells infected with gE deletion mutants formed glycoprotein patches that were significantly reduced in size. The results of this study are interpreted to indicate that the egress of HSV-1 in Vero cells is directed to virally induced, specialized egress sites that form along specific areas of the cell membrane.
    Journal of Virology 04/2012; 86(13):7084-97. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Herpesviruses have an icosahedral nucleocapsid surrounded by an amorphous tegument and a lipoprotein envelope. The tegument comprises at least 20 proteins destined for delivery into the host cell. As the tegument does not have a regular structure, the question arises of how its proteins are recruited. The herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) tegument is known to contact the capsid at its vertices, and two proteins, UL36 and UL37, have been identified as candidates for this interaction. We show that the interaction is mediated exclusively by UL36. HSV-1 nucleocapsids extracted from virions shed their UL37 upon incubation at 37°C. Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) analysis of capsids with and without UL37 reveals the same penton-capping density in both cases. As no other tegument proteins are retained in significant amounts, it follows that this density feature (∼100 kDa) represents the ordered portion of UL36 (336 kDa). It binds between neighboring UL19 protrusions and to an adjacent UL17 molecule. These observations support the hypothesis that UL36 plays a major role in the tegumentation of the virion, providing a flexible scaffold to which other tegument proteins, including UL37, bind. They also indicate how sequential conformational changes in the maturing nucleocapsid control the ordered binding, first of UL25/UL17 and then of UL36.
    Journal of Virology 02/2012; 86(8):4058-64. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    Jay C Brown, William W Newcomb
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    ABSTRACT: In all herpesviruses, the capsid is icosahedral in shape, composed of 162 capsomers, and assembled in the infected cell nucleus. Once a closed capsid has formed, it is packaged with the virus DNA and transported to the cytoplasm where further morphogenetic events take place. Herpesvirus capsid populations are highly uniform in shape, and this property has made them attractive for structural analysis particularly by cryo electron microscopy followed by three-dimensional image reconstruction. Here we describe what is known about herpesvirus capsid structure and assembly with emphasis on herpes simplex virus and on the contribution of structural studies. The overall analysis has demonstrated that herpesvirus capsids are formed by a pathway resembling that established for dsDNA bacteriophage such as P22 and HK97. For example herpes capsid assembly is found to: (1) involve a scaffolding protein not present in the mature virus; (2) proceed through a fragile, spherical procapsid intermediate; and (3) result in incorporation of a portal complex at a unique capsid vertex.
    Current opinion in virology. 08/2011; 1(2):142-9.
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    William W Newcomb, Jay C Brown
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    ABSTRACT: The tegument of all herpesviruses contains a high-molecular-weight protein homologous to herpes simplex virus (HSV) UL36. This large (3,164 amino acids), essential, and multifunctional polypeptide is located on the capsid surface and present at 100 to 150 copies per virion. We have been testing the idea that UL36 is important for the structural organization of the tegument. UL36 is proposed to bind directly to the capsid with other tegument proteins bound indirectly by way of UL36. Here we report the results of studies carried out with HSV type 1-derived structures containing the capsid but lacking a membrane and depleted of all tegument proteins except UL36 and a second high-molecular-weight protein, UL37. Electron microscopic analysis demonstrated that, compared to capsids lacking a tegument, these capsids (called T36 capsids) had tufts of protein located at the vertices. Projecting from the tufts were thin, variably curved strands with lengths (15 to 70 nm) in some cases sufficient to extend across the entire thickness of the tegument (approximately 50 nm). Strands were sensitive to removal from the capsid by brief sonication, which also removed UL36 and UL37. The findings are interpreted to indicate that UL36 and UL37 are the components of the tufts and of the thin strands that extend from them. The strand lengths support the view that they could serve as organizing features for the tegument, as they have the potential to reach all parts of the tegument. The variably curved structure of the strands suggests they may be flexible, a property that could contribute to the deformable nature of the tegument.
    Journal of Virology 09/2010; 84(18):9408-14. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    Jay C Brown, William W Newcomb, Gail W Wertz
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    ABSTRACT: Commentary on Ge, P.; Tsao, J.; Schein, S.; Green, T.J.; Luo, M.; Zhou, Z.H. Cryo-EM model of the bullet-shaped vesicular stomatitis virus. Science2010, 327, 689-693.
    Viruses 04/2010; 2(4):995-1001. · 2.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The herpes simplex virus type 1 UL25 protein is one of seven viral proteins that are required for DNA cleavage and packaging. Together with UL17, UL25 forms part of an elongated molecule referred to as the C-capsid-specific component (CCSC). Five copies of the CCSC are located at each of the capsid vertices on DNA-containing capsids. To study the conformation of UL25 as it is folded on the capsid surface, we identified the sequence recognized by a UL25-specific monoclonal antibody and localized the epitope on the capsid surface by immunogold electron microscopy. The epitope mapped to amino acids 99-111 adjacent to the region of the protein (amino acids 1-50) that is required for capsid binding. In addition, cryo-EM reconstructions of C-capsids in which the green fluorescent protein (GFP) was fused within the N-terminus of UL25 localized the point of contact between UL25 and GFP. The result confirmed the modeled location of the UL25 protein in the CCSC density as the region that is distal to the penton with the N-terminus of UL25 making contact with the triplex one removed from the penton. Immunofluorescence experiments at early times during infection demonstrated that UL25-GFP was present on capsids located within the cytoplasm and adjacent to the nucleus. These results support the view that UL25 is present on incoming capsids with the capsid-binding domain of UL25 located on the surface of the mature DNA-containing capsid.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 03/2010; 397(2):575-86. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ejection of DNA from the capsid is an early step in infection by all herpesviruses. Ejection or DNA uncoating occurs after a parental capsid has entered the host cell cytoplasm, migrated to the nucleus, and bound to a nuclear pore. DNA exits the capsid through the portal vertex and proceeds by way of the nuclear pore complex into the nucleoplasm where it is transcribed and replicated. Here, we describe use of an in vitro uncoating system to determine which genome end exits first from the herpes simplex virus 1 capsid. Purified DNA-containing capsids were bound to a solid surface and warmed under conditions in which some, but not all, of the DNA was ejected. Restriction endonuclease digestion was then used to identify the genomic origin of the ejected DNA. The results support the view that the S segment end exits the capsid first. Preferential release at the S end demonstrates that herpesvirus DNA uncoating conforms to the paradigm in double-stranded DNA bacteriophage where the last end packaged is the first to be ejected. Release of herpes simplex virus 1 DNA beginning at the S end causes the first gene to enter the host cell nucleus to be α4, a transcription factor required for expression of early genes.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 10/2009; · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    William W Newcomb, Jay C Brown
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    ABSTRACT: All herpesviruses have a layer of protein called the tegument that lies between the virion membrane and the capsid. The tegument consists of multiple, virus-encoded protein species that together can account for nearly half the total virus protein. To clarify the structure of the tegument and its attachment to the capsid, we used electron microscopy and protein analysis to examine the tegument of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Electron microscopic examination of intact virions revealed that whereas the tegument was asymmetrically distributed around the capsid in extracellular virions, it was symmetrically arranged in cell-associated virus. Examination of virions after treatment with nonionic detergent demonstrated that: (i) in extracellular virus the tegument was resistant to removal with Triton X-100 (TX-100), whereas it was lost nearly completely when cell-associated virus was treated in the same way; (ii) the tegument in TX-100-treated extracellular virions was asymmetrically distributed around the capsid as it is in unextracted virus; and (iii) in some images, tegument was seen to be linked to the capsid by short, regularly spaced connectors. Further analysis was carried out with extracellular virus harvested from cells at different times after infection. It was observed that while the amount of tegument present in virions was not affected by time of harvest, the amount remaining after TX-100 treatment increased markedly as the time of harvest was increased from 24 h to 64 h postinfection. The results support the view that HSV-1 virions undergo a time-dependent change in which the tegument is transformed from a state in which it is symmetrically organized around the capsid and extractable with TX-100 to a state where it is asymmetrically arranged and resistant to extraction.
    Journal of Virology 07/2009; 83(16):8082-9. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Macrophages are an important target cell for infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV). A number of viral genes that either are expressed specifically in this cell type or function to optimize CMV replication in this host cell have now been identified. Among these is the murine CMV (MCMV) US22 gene family member M140, a nonessential early gene whose deletion (RVDelta140) leads to significant impairment in virus replication in differentiated macrophages. We have now determined that the defect in replication is at the stage of viral DNA encapsidation. Although the rate of RVDelta140 genome replication and extent of DNA cleavage were comparable to those for revertant virus, deletion of M140 resulted in a significant reduction in the number of viral capsids in the nucleus, and the viral DNA remained sensitive to DNase treatment. These data are indicative of incomplete virion assembly. Steady-state levels of both the major capsid protein (M86) and tegument protein M25 were reduced in the absence of the M140 protein (pM140). This effect may be related to the localization of pM140 to an aggresome-like, microtubule organizing center-associated structure that is known to target misfolded and overexpressed proteins for degradation. It appears, therefore, that pM140 indirectly influences MCMV capsid formation in differentiated macrophages by regulating the stability of viral structural proteins.
    Journal of Virology 06/2009; 83(15):7449-56. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    Anna Maria Copeland, William W Newcomb, Jay C Brown
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    ABSTRACT: Replication of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) involves a step in which a parental capsid docks onto a host nuclear pore complex (NPC). The viral genome then translocates through the nuclear pore into the nucleoplasm, where it is transcribed and replicated to propagate infection. We investigated the roles of viral and cellular proteins in the process of capsid-nucleus attachment. Vero cells were preloaded with antibodies specific for proteins of interest and infected with HSV-1 containing a green fluorescent protein-labeled capsid, and capsids bound to the nuclear surface were quantified by fluorescence microscopy. Results showed that nuclear capsid attachment was attenuated by antibodies specific for the viral tegument protein VP1/2 (UL36 gene) but not by similar antibodies specific for UL37 (a tegument protein), the major capsid protein (VP5), or VP23 (a minor capsid protein). Similar studies with antibodies specific for nucleoporins demonstrated attenuation by antibodies specific for Nup358 but not Nup214. The role of nucleoporins was further investigated with the use of small interfering RNA (siRNA). Capsid attachment to the nucleus was attenuated in cells treated with siRNA specific for either Nup214 or Nup358 but not TPR. The results are interpreted to suggest that VP1/2 is involved in specific attachment to the NPC and/or in migration of capsids to the nuclear surface. Capsids are suggested to attach to the NPC by way of the complex of Nup358 and Nup214, with high-resolution immunofluorescence studies favoring binding to Nup358.
    Journal of Virology 01/2009; 83(4):1660-8. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    Jamie B Huffman, William W Newcomb, Jay C Brown, Fred L Homa
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    ABSTRACT: The herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) portal is composed of a dodecamer of UL6 protein molecules whose incorporation into the capsid is mediated by interaction with the HSV-1 UL26.5 scaffold protein. Previous results with an in vitro capsid assembly assay demonstrated that nine amino acids (amino acids 143 to 151) of the UL26.5 protein are required for its interaction with UL6 and for incorporation of the portal complex into capsids. In the present study an HSV-1 mutant, bvFH411, was isolated and contained a deletion that removed the codons for UL26.5 amino acids 143 to 150. The mutant virus failed to produce infectious virus in noncomplementing cells, and only B capsids that contained only minor amounts of portal protein were made. These data corroborate our previous in vitro studies and demonstrate that amino acids 143 to 150 of UL26.5 are required for the formation of portal-containing HSV-1 capsids.
    Journal of Virology 08/2008; 82(13):6778-81. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    William W Newcomb, Frank P Booy, Jay C Brown
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    ABSTRACT: Initiation of infection by herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) involves a step in which the parental virus capsid docks at a nuclear pore and injects its DNA into the nucleus. Once "uncoated" in this way, the virus DNA can be transcribed and replicated. In an effort to clarify the mechanism of DNA injection, we examined DNA release as it occurs in purified capsids incubated in vitro. DNA ejection was observed following two different treatments, trypsin digestion of capsids in solution, and heating of capsids after attachment to a solid surface. In both cases, electron microscopic analysis revealed that DNA was ejected as a single double helix with ejection occurring at one vertex presumed to be the portal. In the case of trypsin-treated capsids, DNA release was found to correlate with cleavage of a small proportion of the portal protein, UL6, suggesting that UL6 cleavage may be involved in making the capsid permissive for DNA ejection. In capsids bound to a solid surface, DNA ejection was observed only when capsids were warmed above 4 degrees C. The proportion of capsids releasing their DNA increased as a function of incubation temperature with nearly all capsids ejecting their DNA when incubation was at 37 degrees C. The results demonstrate heterogeneity among HSV-1 capsids with respect to their sensitivity to heat-induced DNA ejection. Such heterogeneity may indicate a similar heterogeneity in the ease with which capsids are able to deliver DNA to the infected cell nucleus.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 08/2007; 370(4):633-42. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The gene transfer agent (GTA) is a phage-like particle capable of exchanging double-stranded DNA fragments between cells of the photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter capsulatus. Here we show that the major capsid protein of GTA, expressed in E. coli, can be assembled into prohead-like structures in the presence of calcium ions in vitro. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of uranyl acetate staining material and thin sections of glutaraldehyde-fixed material demonstrates that these associates have spherical structures with diameters in the range of 27-35 nm. The analysis of scanning TEM images revealed particles of mass approximately 4.3 MDa, representing 101+/-11 copies of the monomeric subunit. The establishment of this simple and rapid method to form prohead-like particles permits the GTA system to be used for genome manipulation within the photosynthetic bacterium, for specific targeted drug delivery, and for the construction of biologically based distributed autonomous sensors for environmental monitoring.
    Virology 08/2007; 364(1):95-102. · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: UL25 and UL17 are two essential minor capsid proteins of HSV-1, implicated in DNA packaging and capsid maturation. We used cryo-electron microscopy to examine their binding to capsids, whose architecture observes T = 16 icosahedral geometry. C-capsids (mature DNA-filled capsids) have an elongated two-domain molecule present at a unique, vertex-adjacent site that is not seen at other quasiequivalent sites or on unfilled capsids. Using SDS-PAGE and mass spectrometry to analyze wild-type capsids, UL25 null capsids, and denaturant-extracted capsids, we conclude that (1) the C-capsid-specific component is a heterodimer of UL25 and UL17, and (2) capsids have additional populations of UL25 and UL17 that are invisible in reconstructions because of sparsity and/or disorder. We infer that binding of the ordered population reflects structural changes induced on the outer surface as pressure builds up inside the capsid during DNA packaging. Its binding may signal that the C-capsid is ready to exit the nucleus.
    Molecular Cell 06/2007; 26(4):479-89. · 15.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), the prototypical herpesvirus, has an icosahedral nucleocapsid surrounded by a proteinaceous tegument and a lipoprotein envelope. As in tailed bacteriophages, the icosahedral symmetry of the capsid is broken at one of the 12 vertices, which is occupied by a dodecameric ring of portal protein, UL6, instead of a pentamer of the capsid protein, UL19. The portal ring serves as a conduit for DNA entering and exiting the capsid. From a cryo-EM reconstruction of capsids immuno-gold-labeled with anti-UL6 antibodies, we confirmed that UL6 resides at a vertex. To visualize the portal in the context of the assembled capsid, we used cryo-electron tomography to determine the three-dimensional structures of individual A-capsids (empty, mature capsids). The similarity in size and overall shape of the portal and a UL19 pentamer--both are cylinders of approximately 800 kDa--combined with residual noise in the tomograms, prevented us from identifying the portal vertices directly; however, this was accomplished by a computational classification procedure. Averaging the portal-containing subtomograms produced a structure that tallies with the isolated portal, as previously reconstructed by cryo-EM. The portal is mounted on the outer surface of the capsid floor layer, with its narrow end pointing outwards. This disposition differs from that of known phage portals in that the bulk of its mass lies outside, not inside, the floor. This distinction may be indicative of divergence at the level of portal-related functions other than its role as a DNA channel.
    Virology 06/2007; 361(2):426-34. · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    William W Newcomb, Fred L Homa, Jay C Brown
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    ABSTRACT: UL25 is one of seven herpes simplex virus-encoded proteins involved specifically in DNA encapsidation. Its role appears to be to stabilize the capsid so that DNA is prevented from escaping once it has entered. To clarify the function of UL25, we have examined capsids with the goal of defining where it is located. Analysis of trypsin-treated capsids showed that UL25 is sensitive to cleavage like other proteins such as the major capsid and portal proteins that are exposed on the capsid surface. Internal proteins such as the scaffolding protein and protease were not affected under the same experimental conditions. Capsids were also examined by electron microscopy after staining with gold-labeled antibody specific for UL25. Images of stained capsids demonstrated that most labeled sites (71% in C capsids) were at capsid vertices, and most stained C capsids had label at more than one vertex. A quantitative immunoblotting method showed that the capsid contents of UL25 were 56, 20, and 75 copies per capsid in A, B, and C capsids, respectively. Finally, soluble UL25 protein was found to bind in vitro to purified capsids lacking it. The amount of bound UL25 corresponded to the amount present in B capsids, and bound UL25 was found by immunoelectron microscopy to be located predominantly at the capsid vertices. The results are interpreted to suggest that five UL25 molecules are found at or near each of the capsid vertices, where they are exposed on the capsid surface. Exposure on the surface is consistent with the view that UL25 is added to the capsid as DNA is packaged or during late stages of the packaging process.
    Journal of Virology 08/2006; 80(13):6286-94. · 5.08 Impact Factor
  • Microscopy and Microanalysis 07/2006; 12:412 - 413. · 2.50 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

4k Citations
375.28 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2012
    • Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine
      • Microbiology and Immunology
      Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 1991–2012
    • National Institutes of Health
      • Structural Biophysics Laboratory
      Bethesda, MD, United States
  • 1990–2012
    • University of Virginia
      • Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology (MIC)
      Charlottesville, VA, United States
  • 2004–2009
    • University of Pittsburgh
      • Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
      Pittsburgh, PA, United States
  • 2000–2007
    • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
      Maryland, United States
  • 1995–1996
    • Bristol-Myers Squibb
      • Department of Virology
      New York City, NY, United States
  • 1990–1992
    • Purdue University
      • Department of Biological Sciences
      West Lafayette, IN, United States