Yonghui Zheng

    Email Address: zhengyh@uic.edu
    College: Medicine Department: Microbiology and Immunology
    Title: Professor
    Office: COMRB 8053 Phone: 312-996-9744
    Webpage: http://microbiology.uic.edu/Zheng.html
    Participating in the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Awards program: Yes

    Research Interest:
    Our laboratory studies class I fusion proteins to understand how they are attacked by host factors during expression in the secretory pathway. Class I fusion proteins are expressed from HIV-1, influenza virus, Ebola virus, and SARS-COV-2 to mediate virus entry and initiate infection. Although these viruses belong to different families, their fusion proteins share identical features in structure and biosynthesis. Currently, we have three major projects to elucidate:

    1. How the calnexin cycle and class I α-mannosidases target these viral fusion proteins to ER-to-lysosome-associated degradation (ERLAD) via Macro-ER-phagy and Micro-ER-phagy.

    2. How MARCHF E3 ubiquitin ligases inhibit their maturation in the Golgi by blocking glycosylation and furin-cleavage.

    3. How SERINC5 inhibits their fusogenic activity on the plasma membrane and how SERINC5 is counteracted by HIV-1 Nef, MLV glycoGag, and EIAV S2.
    Given the key role of class I fusion proteins in infection, our studies may lead to development of novel antivirals that broadly target highly pathogenic human viruses.

    Minimum time commitment in hours per week: 15 hours

    Qualifications of a Student:
    We are looking for undergraduate students who will apply for our graduate school in the College of Medicine and other UIC colleges to work on Ph.D theses on important human viruses.

    Students must have a minimum GPA 3.4, and a biomedicine-related major (Biology, Immunology, Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Genetics, etc).

    Senior students and students in Honors College are encouraged to apply for this great training opportunity in biomedical research.

    Brief Summary of what is expected from the student:
    1. Design experiments related to virology research using tissue cultured cells;

    2. Perform molecular and cellular biology experiments to understand molecular and genetic mechanisms using cell culture, molecular biology and cell-based assays;

    3. Engage in laboratory research, analyze data and information, evaluate and report findings to senior research faculty and research staff.

    4. Publish papers and apply for UIC graduate schools.

    Return to Microbiology and Immunology list

    Return to Departments list