Event Calendar

Monday, September 17, 2018

Mon, Sep 17, 2018

Holda Anagho ’14 smiling while working with equipment in a laboratory

Biology Monday Seminar: "Uukuniemi Virus Entry and Fusion in Mammalian Cells" with Holda Anagho '14

Holda Anagho ’14 is a doctoral student in infection biology at Hannover Medical School in Germany, where she studies interactions between Hepatitis Delta Virus (HDV) and host cells in the lab of Professor Thomas von Hahn, M.D. At Amherst, she majored in biology, where she first became excited about research after a summer internship in Professor Caroline Goutte’s lab. While at Amherst, she also took several German language courses and served as president of the German theme house. After graduation, she spent a year as a research fellow at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, where she conducted research on the effects of immunomodulatory drugs in primary effusion lymphoma, caused by Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) in the lab of Dr. Robert Yarchoan '71, M.D. There she first became interested in viruses. With generous support from Amherst College through the Kellogg Fellowship, she enrolled in the master's program in molecular biosciences at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, where she majored in infectious diseases. She did her master's thesis research in the lab of Dr. Pierre-Yves Lozach on entry and fusion of the Uukuniemi phlebovirus (UUKV) in mammalian cells. UUKV is an arthropod-borne virus closely related to emerging viruses that are highly pathogenic to humans, including Rift Valley fever virus, Heartland virus and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus. UUKV, which is nonpathogenic to humans, is therefore used as a model system to study its more pathogenic counterparts.

UUKV is closely related to emerging pathogenic viruses in the Phenuiviridae family that cause severe and sometimes fatal disease in humans, animals and plants. To release its viral genome into a cell, Uukuniemi virus must fuse its viral membrane with the host cell membrane. Fusion of the UUKV membrane is mediated by the viral Glycoprotein C (GC), which is thought to be a class II fusion protein. We aimed to characterize mechanisms of UUKV fusion in mammalian cells. To this end, we analyzed the effect of low pH on virus binding and entry, conducted functional studies of UUKV GC mutants to analyze effects on viral fusion, and tested peptides corresponding to regions of the GC ectodomain for their ability to inhibit viral entry.

"Trying Not to Try: Ancient China, Modern Science and the Power of Spontaneity"

Edward Slingerland is Distinguished University Scholar and Professor of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia, with associate appointments in philosophy and psychology. His research specialties and teaching interests include early Chinese thought, religious studies, cognitive linguistics, ethics, and the relationship between the humanities and the natural sciences. His publications include several academic monographs and edited volumes and approximately 30 refereed articles in top journals in a wide variety of fields.

Many early Chinese thinkers had as their spiritual ideal the state of wu-wei, or effortless action. By advocating spontaneity as an explicit moral and religious goal, they inevitably involved themselves in the paradox of wu-wei—the problem of how one can try not to try—which later became one of the central tensions in East Asian religious thought. In this talk, Slingerland will look at the paradox from both an early Chinese and a contemporary perspective, drawing upon work in economics, social psychology, cognitive neuroscience and evolutionary theory to argue that this paradox is a real one, and is moreover intimately tied up with cooperation dilemmas in large-scale societies and concerns about trust and moral hypocrisy.

The public is welcome. Refreshments and meet-and-greet will follow the lecture.