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Che Colpitts, PhD

Che Colpitts, PhD

Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, School of Medicine, Queen’s University –

Membrane Re-modelling as an Antiviral Target for Coronaviruses

The recent outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, China, underscored the severe health and societal impact of emerging viruses. There are no approved antivirals for coronaviruses or other emerging viruses.

To mitigate this global health threat:

  • We will identify new treatment strategies for these viruses by targeting conserved aspects of their replication cycles

Coronaviruses, like other similar viruses, remodel cellular lipid membranes to form membranous ‘forts’ that are necessary to support and protect viral replication in cells.

  • We will characterize how coronaviruses manipulate the cellular environment to build these membranous forts, and
  • Use this knowledge to identify novel antiviral strategies targeting conserved aspects of viral-induced membrane remodeling

Such antivirals are expected to have pan-coronavirus activities and thus would be useful for rapid treatment of emerging coronaviruses, including those yet to emerge.

Professor Coplitts is one of three recipients of The Jarislowsky Fellowship – Banting Discovery Award 2020.