JUL 23, 2020 8:00 AM PDT
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Characterizing Viruses: From deadly pathogens to the workhorses of gene therapy

  • Senior Application Engineer, Beckman Coulter Life Sciences
      Akash Bhattacharya graduated from Presidency College, India with a major in Physics and went on to a Masters' in Physics at the Indian Institute of Science where he worked on Quantum Computing. He then moved for doctoral studies in Biophysics to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where he joined the lab of Prof. Erik Zuiderweg and worked on NMR spectroscopy methods development in the context of the Structural Biology of Chaperone Proteins. After Michigan, he worked briefly at Rutgers and then eventually moved to the Dept. of Biochemistry and Structural Biology at the University of Texas Health at San Antonio. Here, he worked with Prof. Dmitri Ivanov and Prof. Borries Demeler on the enzymology of HIV infection and restriction by mammalian proteins. He also worked on projects related to oncology (DNA damage repair) and neuroscience (voltage gated ion channels), using a wide variety of techniques ranging from X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, molecular dynamics and analytical ultracentrifugation (AUC). He collaborated with Prof. Demeler to extend AUC methods to novel enzymatic systems resulting in publications in PNAS, Cell Reports, Nature Scientific Reports, etc. Akash joined Beckman Coulter Life Sciences in Oct 2018. He is based in the Colorado R&D center and works on developing new AUC applications. His research interests include extending AUC methodology to new therapeutic areas such as AAV capsids (gene therapy), liposomal drug carriers and others.


    DATE:  July 23, 2020

    TIME:  8:00am PT


    Viruses are a few megabytes of genomic information wrapped inside a protein shell and sometimes a lipid coat. They exist in the shadow of the tree of life, requiring the metabolic capabilities of a host to propagate. Yet viruses have successfully stalked every clade of life, infecting almost every extant species. The impact of viruses ranges from decimating entire populations to colonizing them or simply infiltrating the very genomic pool of a species and continuing to exist purely in the form of endogenous retroviruses. Virology is the youngest of the biological sciences- and it has finally come of age in the 21st century. 

    The physical characterization of the virion and its interaction with the host cell is a focal point of both pathogenic and therapeutic virology. Every step of the virus-host infection cycle is a druggable target. In this webinar, Dr. Bhattacharya will discuss the role of analytical ultracentrifugation (AUC) in uncovering the biophysics of these therapeutic targets. We will discuss typical case examples, including one where AUC is used to determine the dimerization affinity of SARS-CoV-2 protease.

    In the second half of this webinar, Dr. Bhattacharya will discuss the role of Recombinant Adeno Associated Virus (rAAV) vectors as one of the most promising mechanisms for therapeutic gene delivery. A typical phase III clinical trial can require up to ~ 1018 bioactive AAV capsids (aka Enhanced Transduction Units or ETUs). The production of such large quantities of bioactive AAV particles is fraught with production challenges such as maintaining integrity and maximizing efficiency of the delivery vehicle. Known as the gold standard in assessing the quality of AAV preps, AUC can distinguish between degraded capsids, empty, full and partially loaded capsids with exceptional resolution. The webinar will conclude by comparing AUC measurements to other techniques and how to use the results to optimize process development.   


    Learning objectives:

    1. Understand the role of AUC in the biophysical characterization of viral drug targets.

    2. Know how AUC can be used to measure equilibrium binding affinities in protein interactions.

    3. Understand the quality control challenges in therapeutic AAV production.

    4. Know the techniques used to characterize the AAV capsid.

    5. Identify the advantages of native state analyses.

    6. Understand the use of AUC in quantifying full:empty:partial AAV ratios.



    Webinars will be available for unlimited on-demand viewing after live event.


    LabRoots is approved as a provider of continuing education programs in the clinical laboratory sciences by the ASCLS P.A.C.E. ® Program. By attending this webinar, you can earn 1 Continuing Education credit once you have viewed the webinar in its entirety.

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