John Parker, BVMS, PhD
Associate Professor of Virology
Laboratory for the Study of Feline Caliciviruses and Mammalian Orthoreoviruses
Mammalian Reoviruses: Our laboraratory primarily studies the cell-pathogen interactions that occur during assembly and replication of the mammalian reoviruses. We use reoviruses as model agents to study the replication and assembly of double-stranded RNA viruses. We are interested in the virus-cell interactions that promote replication and assembly and how these processes impact the host cell.
In particular, we are studying the assembly, function, and cytopathic effects of large virus-derived supramolecular structures called viral factories. Virus factories are the likely sites of viral transcription, new virus particle assembly and viral replication. The viral factories interact with the cellular cytoskeleton and this is an area which we continue to investigate.
Feline calicivirus: We also study feline caliciviruses. Feline calicivirus (FCV) infection is a significant health problem to cats, and a challenge for owners and their veterinarians. Unfortunately, the available vaccines do not always protect cats against infection and they are ineffective in the face of pre-existing chronic disease.
We are investigating how these viruses attach to and enter cells. Our rationale is that all virus infections begin when a virus attaches to a specific receptor on the surface of a susceptible cell. If we can understand how these processes occurs for FCV we may gain insights that will lead to better vaccination or therapeutic strategies.