The Wobus lab is interested in mechanisms of norovirus, astrovirus, and SARS-CoV-2 - host interactions.
Noroviruses and astroviruses are major causes of viral gastroenteritis worldwide resulting in substantial morbidity and economic loss. For example, human noroviruses cause an estimated 21 million cases of gastroenteritis per year in the USA alone. However, despite the importance for public health, little or no information is available about the biology of these viruses and no directed disease prevention and control strategies exist for these viruses.
With our discovery of the first murine norovirus (MNV-1) and hence the availability of a small animal model, the development of the first in vitro culture system and reverse genetics system for a norovirus, we have a unique system to undertake a detailed analysis of different aspects of norovirus biology. More recently, we have expanded our studies to include human norovirus to compare and contrast the human and murine viruses, and human astroviruses. We developed the first small animal model for human noroviruses and established the two new culture models for human noroviruses (human BJAB B cells and human intestinal organoids) in the laboratory. We are also using the human intestinal organoid systems to study human astrovirus biology. With the COVID pandemic unfolding, we are also investigating SARS-CoV-2 infections in cell culture.
Current studies in the lab are focused on:
1) the role of the intracellular metabolome during astro-norovirus, and SARS-CoV-2 infections
2) modulation of B cell responses by norovirus infections
3) development of human organoid/immune cell co-cultures to investigate the host response to astro-, norovirus, and SARS-CoV-2 infections.