Graduate Group in Genomics and Computational Biology

Sara Cherry, Ph.D.

faculty photo
Associate Professor of Microbiology
Department: Microbiology

Contact information
University of Pennsylvania
Department of Microbiology
304K Lynch Laboratories
433 South University Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-746-2384
Fax: 215-746-6697
B.S. (Chemistry)
U.C. Berkeley, 1994.
Ph.D. (Biology)
MIT, 2000.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
Genetic and mechanistic studies of viral-host interactions.

Key words: virus, genomics, RNAi, genetics, Drosophila, innate, immunity.

Description of Research
Research in the Cherry lab is aimed at identifying cellular factors that regulate viral pathogenesis, including both those factors hijacked by viruses for replication and those innate anti-viral mechanisms used by the host to combat the invader. To identify these factors we are taking a genetic approach by screening for factors that impact viral replication. To this end, we are using the model genetic organism Drosophila. This allows us to use a wide-variety of techniques to identify these genes including both high-throughput RNA interference screens in cell culture, and forward genetic screens in animals. Moreover, we are also screening for host factors in human cells using high-throughput RNA interference screening technologies. We are using these approaches to study a number of arthropod-borne RNA viruses, including the flavivirus West Nile virus, the alphavirus Sindbis and the bunyavirus Rift Valley Fever virus. These are the three major families of viruses that are important human pathogens transmitted by mosquitoes to humans. By screening in both hosts- insect and human- we hope to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the host factor requirements of these pathogens. We are currently characterizing the roles of candidate genes already uncovered by using molecular biological and cell biological techniques and have discovered factors involved in viral replication and innate immunity. By combining these methodologies, and using a variety of viruses, we hope to gain a comprehensive understanding of the interplay between the host and pathogen in a complex and dynamic setting. Taking advantage of forward genetics and functional genomics in will allow us to use these unbiased and global methodologies to identify many important and novel host factors that modulate virus-host interactions. Moreover, the more viral-host pairs that we study, the better our understanding of pathways and processes essential to pathogens, and the more equipped we will be to develop anti-viral treatments.

Rotation Projects:
Depending on the interests of the student, there are many possible projects in the areas of viral-host interactions and innate immunity. Students are encouraged to contact Dr. Cherry directly.

Lab personnel:
Terri Moser- CAMB Ph. D. Student
Leah Sabin- CAMB Ph. D. Student
Kaycie Hopkins - IGG Ph. D. Student
Jie Xu- CAMB M.D./Ph. D. Student
Patrick Rose- Postdoctoral Fellow
Sheri Hanna- Postdoctoral Fellow
Tariq Maqbool- Postdoctoral Fellow
Shelly Bambina- Research Technician
Maggie Nakamoto- Research Technician
Tracy Nguyen- Undergraduate Researcher
Luke Swaszek- Undergraduate Researcher
Kendrick Chow- Undergraduate Researcher
Stephanie Kim- Undergraduate Researcher
Veronica Schad- Undergraduate Researcher

Selected Publications

Nakamoto, M., Moy, R., Xu, J., Bambina, S., Yasunaga, A., Shelly, S., Gold, B., and Cherry S.: Virus recognition by Toll-7 activates antiviral autophagy in Drosophila. Immunity(In Press), 2012.

Coyne Carolyn B, Bozym Rebecca, Morosky Stefanie A, Hanna Sheri L, Mukherjee Amitava, Tudor Matthew, Kim Kwang Sik, Cherry Sara: Comparative RNAi screening reveals host factors involved in enterovirus infection of polarized endothelial monolayers. Cell host & microbe 9(1): 70-82, Jan 2011.

Bagashev Asen, Fitzgerald Michael C, Larosa David F, Rose Patrick P, Cherry Sara, Johnson Alfred C, Sullivan Kathleen E: Leucine-rich repeat (in Flightless I) interacting protein-1 regulates a rapid type I interferon response. Journal of interferon & cytokine research : the official journal of the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research 30(11): 843-52, Nov 2010.

Moser TS, Jones RG, Thompson CB, Coyne CB, Cherry S.: A kinome RNAi screen identified AMPK as promoting poxvirus entry through the control of actin dynamics. PLoS Pathog. 6(6): e1000954, July 2010.

Bagashev A, Fitzgerald MC, LaRosa DF, Rose PP, Cherry S, Johnson AC and Sullivan KE: Leucin-Rich Repeat (in Flightless I) Interacting Protein-1 Regulates a Rapid type I Interferon Response. J. Interferon and Cytokine Research June 2010.

Bozym Rebecca A, Morosky Stefanie A, Kim Kwang S, Cherry Sara, Coyne Carolyn B: Release of intracellular calcium stores facilitates coxsackievirus entry into polarized endothelial cells. PLoS pathogens 6(10), 2010.

Filone Claire Marie, Hanna Sheri L, Caino M Cecilia, Bambina Shelly, Doms Robert W, Cherry Sara: Rift valley fever virus infection of human cells and insect hosts is promoted by protein kinase C epsilon. PloS one 5(11): e15483, 2010.

Sabin Leah R, Zhou Rui, Gruber Joshua J, Lukinova Nina, Bambina Shelly, Berman Allison, Lau Chi-Kong, Thompson Craig B, Cherry Sara: Ars2 regulates both miRNA- and siRNA- dependent silencing and suppresses RNA virus infection in Drosophila. Cell 138(2): 340-51, Jul 2009.

Gruber Joshua J, Zatechka D Steven, Sabin Leah R, Yong Jeongsik, Lum Julian J, Kong Mei, Zong Wei-Xing, Zhang Zhenxi, Lau Chi-Kong, Rawlings Jason, Cherry Sara, Ihle James N, Dreyfuss Gideon, Thompson Craig B: Ars2 links the nuclear cap-binding complex to RNA interference and cell proliferation. Cell 138(2): 328-39, Jul 2009.

Shelly Spencer, Lukinova Nina, Bambina Shelly, Berman Allison, Cherry Sara: Autophagy is an essential component of Drosophila immunity against vesicular stomatitis virus. Immunity 30(4): 588-98, Apr 2009.

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Last updated: 02/09/2012
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