Webb, Nicholas E.

Nicholas is a first year trainee and is in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics.  His research mentor is Dr. BenHur Lee.  He received a B.S. degree in 2009 from UC Berkeley.

Mentor: Dr. Benhur Lee

Research project:

As a requirement for infection, the physical mechanisms used by HIV to enter a cell are an attractive target for drug development.  I am exploring the complex protein conformational cascades and the corresponding energy barriers of this entry process to identify unique transient epitopes that may be exploited as therapeutic targets.  I am also characterizing HIV isolates in terms of their sensitivity to differential expression of the primary HIV receptor CD4 and its coreceptor CCR5.  This sensitivity can shed light on the potential for drug resistance among HIV quasispecies in an evolutionary context and can also help us understand the correlation between AIDS progression and coreceptor tropism.