Overview of Research, Education, and other Activities

The Luban Lab has been continuously funded by the NIH since 1990 to study the replication, pathogenesis, and immunity of pathogenic viruses, including HIV-1, Ebola virus, and SARS-CoV-2. The simplicity of virus genomes renders their replication dependent upon host cell factors. The host pathology that results from infection, as well as innate and acquired immunity targeting them, are similarly host-dependent. By identifying and characterizing cellular factors of relevance to the viruses, we exploit them to probe the function of human cells. In the process of identifying and characterizing these factors we elucidate fundamental mechanisms of transcriptional activation and silencing, cell cycle regulation, innate immune detection, recombination, pluripotency, signal transduction, cytokine expression, protein folding, and antigen presentation. At the same time, we develop genetic and biochemical screening methods, as well as reverse genetic tools and vectors for gene delivery and editing. Though our research is basic in nature, it contributes to the development of drugs and vaccines that target these viruses, vectors for gene therapy, and treatments for diseases such as cancer, asthma, and diabetes. I have held tenured professorships in clinical and basic science departments at Columbia University in New York, the University of Geneva in Switzerland, and now the University of Massachusetts Medical School. I have served as primary mentor for 21 Ph.D. students, 30 post-docs, and 39 undergrad/masters students. Additionally, I am an Affiliate Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard, and I serve on the Steering Committee of the Massachusetts Consortium on Pathogen Readiness, where I lead the Program on SARS-CoV-2 Variants.

A full list of publications from our lab can be found here.

A list of ongoing research projects in the lab, with a few representative publications for each topic can be found here.