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Assistant Professor of Medicine

Areas of Interest

HIV, Viral Latency, Epigenetics, Molecular Biology

About

The Turner Laboratory is interested in evaluating the epigenetic pathways involved in HIV latency and developing and testing new latency reversal agents for HIV cure strategies. Through collaborations within the HIV Cure Center as well as with groups in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and the Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery at UNC, we are using small molecule inhibitors, shRNA knockdown, and CRISPR-targeting to evaluate chromatin family proteins in HIV latency. We are also interested in a new class of molecules, bivalent chemical degraders, also known as PROTACs or proteolysis chimeras. These bivalent molecules link a known small molecule inhibitor to a ligand for an E3 ubiquitin ligase and can induce target-specific degradation and represent a new class of molecules for latency reversal cure strategies. New work in the lab surrounds the characterization of integration sites of intact proviruses in donor cells and the local chromatin environment surrounding these viruses. We have recently developed an new assay to map these viruses based on long-read nanopore sequencing. It is possible that detailed characterization of these sites could illuminate novel interactions with major transcriptional features, histone post-translational modifications (PTMs), and chromatin structure previously obscured by abundant defective proviruses and further our understanding how chromatin restrictions govern latency and reactivation.

Education and Training

  • Undergraduate Wake Forest University
  • PhD The Scripps Research Institute