William J. Britt, M.D.
Primary Department Affiliation: Pediatrics
Primary Research Area: Neurodevelopment and Developmental Disabilities
Neuroimmunology and Virology
Neurodevelopment and Developmental Disabilities
Lab Research Focus
Research in my laboratory is focused on the biology of human cytomegalovirus, a large human herpesvirus that is responsible for a number of human diseases. A major component of our research is directed towards understanding protein interactions between the components of the tegument and the virion envelope. The goals of this research are to identify key protein interactions that are essential for assembly of infectious virions. As part of these studies we have also identified intracellular trafficking pathways of viral tegument and envelope proteins and cellular compartments in which particle assembly takes place. These studies utilize both biochemical and imaging techniques and more recently, have taken advantage of genetic manipulation of the viral genome propagated in E. coli. The second area of research is centered on understanding the pathogenesis of diseases that result from human cytomegalovirus infection. These studies include the definition of both the cellular responses and host response to virus infection. Utilizing related cytomegaloviruses of rodents we have extended our studies into animal models of viral disease. Ultimately, we hope to identify new protein targets for antiviral drug development as well rationally designed vaccines to limit disease associated this virus.