Dr. Earl Brown

Dr. Earl Brown

Professor

Degree

B.Sc. (Guelph), Ph.D. (McMaster)

Contact info

Roger Guindon Hall, Rm. 4109
Phone: 562-5800 ext. 8310
Email: ebrown@uottawa.ca

Research Interests

Focus:  Molecular-genetic analysis of RNA viruses with segmented genomes.

University of Ottawa containment Level 3 laboratory: anteroom
University of Ottawa containment Level 3 laboratory: ultracentrifugation facilities
University of Ottawa containment Level 3 laboratory: small animal housing containment units
: Hepatitis C surface receptor protein, E2, structural model: showing similar structure to human immunoglobulin
Structural docking model of Tamiflu (Oseltamivir, shown in a stick model structure) bound to the active site of influenza virus neuraminidase- shown with a space filling model (a common structure found in all influenza neuramidases is shown in blue)
Reovirus infected HELA cells (human ovarian cancer cells); viral inclusion bodies (virus factories) are stained yellow (combination of virus protein in red plus cell ubiquitin protein shown in green- (results in yellow color), DNA n nucleus is stained blue).

Long range goals

  1. Determination of the genetic basis for disease production
  2. Prediction of viral biology from genetic sequence
  3. Develop therapeutically active viruses for the treatment of cancer and chronic disease.

Pathogenesis is being studied with molecular and genetic approaches using the influenza virus, mumps virus, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), hepatitis C virus, SARS coronvirus and reovirus systems. Studies are aimed at understanding viral replication and pathogenesis so that antiviral therapies can be developed.  A major focus is the analysis of viral evolution with particular reference to virulence and virus-host interaction.  Evolution of hepatitis C virus and influenza virus is providing insights into the characterization of biologically meaningful genetic changes. Mutations have been identified in individual genes that control virulence in mice.  Current work is aimed at identifying the mechanism of action of these mutations using genetic reassortants and molecular techniques.

  • Influenza evolution and genetic basis for virulence and host switching are being analyzed in multiple animal models
  • Genetic variants of VSV and reovirus are being derived for cancer treatment.
  • Patterns of evolution are being mapped for Torque Teno virus (TTV) and hepatitis C viruses

Using the reovirus system, genome replication and assembly are studied as well as the biology of the mu2 protein. The mu2 protein controls the rate of formation of viral inclusion bodies and controls the resistance of virus to inhibition by specific host defenses such as interferon. A current focus is the characterization of the modification of the host cell by reovirus during infection.

Selected Publications

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Last updated: 2015.06.01