Christopher Barnes

Assistant Professor; Biology; Structural Biology

Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine

M.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

B.S., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Viruses are inextricably linked to the host cells that they infect. Thus, investigating viral-host interactions is essential to understanding the mechanisms of viral entry, replication, pathogenesis, and the host’s ability to respond to viral pathogens. The Barnes lab excels in leveraging interdisciplinary approaches to address fundamental principles of viral-host interactions for therapeutic benefit. We combine biophysical and structural methods with in vivo approaches to understand how enveloped viruses infect host cells and elicit immune responses. In particular, our research translates knowledge of the structural correlates of antibody-mediated neutralization into the development of highly effective immunotherapies. Additionally, we seek to identify conserved epitopes on viral glycoproteins that are recognized by neutralizing antibodies to facilitate structure-based immunogen design for candidate vaccines against coronaviruses and HIV-1. By combining structural information and improved biochemical methods to mask distracting epitopes, we believe pan-neutralizing vaccines that protect against emerging and re-emerging viral threats are attainable.