Dynamic Evolutionary Forces Shaping the SARS-CoV-2 Receptor Binding Domain - Keck Graduate Institute May 8, 2024, 11:00 am Skip to main content
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Sanaz Zebardast

Understanding the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 is critical for developing effective strategies to combat the ongoing pandemic. The emergence of different variants, driven by mutations in the viral genome, has led to significant changes in transmission rates, virulence, and vaccine effectiveness. These mutations occur naturally as the virus replicates, with certain variants gaining an advantage through increased transmissibility or the ability to evade immune responses. To navigate this evolving landscape, the genetic changes that contribute to these adaptations are being examined. Mapping out the evolutionary landscape of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is a central focus of my PhD research. By artificially generating a large number of spike protein variants, it becomes possible to assay their binding affinity to the ACE2 receptor, which is key to the virus’s ability to infect human cells. This binding affinity may be used as a measure of the virus’s fitness, providing insights into how specific mutations influence the evolutionary success of different variants. The outcomes of this work will guide future efforts to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and manage emerging variants.

Zoom Link: https://kgi.zoom.us/j/94707393644


May 8
11:00 am - 12:00 pm PDT
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