We are a collaborative and diverse group of researchers invested in harnessing experimental and computational state-of-the-art technologies to advance the fundamental understandings and therapeutic implications of viral mutagenesis and evolution and therapeutic implications and molecular and cellular aspects of virus particle assembly with a primary focus on the study of human retroviruses human T-cell leukemia virus HTLV; cause of an adult T-cell leukemia, and human immunodeficiency virus, HIV; cause of AIDS.
Louis Mansky, PhD
Dr. Lou Mansky received his PhD at Iowa State University and completed his postdoctoral research in the Laboratory of Howard M. Temin at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His expertise lies in Human cancer virology; AIDS research; human retroviruses; virus mutagenesis and evolution; virus particle assembly and transmission; antiviral drug target identification; and virus-host interactions.
Dr. Mansky enjoys a good conversation, helping his three kids become the amazing people the are today, and walking his two adorable dogs.
Rayna's research focuses on investigations of virus assembly via fluorescence miscroscopy. Her passions are spending time with her family and friends, and her cat, Daisy. Rayna can play the clarinet, although she has yet to show us. Did you know she has a twin sister who is a mathematician? I wonder if they have ever switched places for a day.
Bill's research focus includes studying the assembly and structure of HIV-2 and HTLV-1 capsid protein. He plays hockey and likes to cook in his free time, but hopefully not at the same time.
Maria Barrera Vaca
During Soledad's Master of Science training at the UMN Veterinary Population Medicine department, she was developing molecular and serological tests to detect animal pathogens, which together with her DVM training at the Universidad Central del Ecuador, help her find her spark on molecular virology research. Currently, she focuses on HIV research to further the understanding of HIV biology. She enjoys talking, listening and taking care of people around her. Soledad won a soccer tournament when she was in college even though she is not a soccer fan or player. What an athlete! She loves to spend time gardening and going to the zoo with her family: Alina, David and Fabian.
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Heather attended school here at the University of Minnesota majoring in Genetics, Cell Biology and Development. She focuses her research on retroviral assembly at the virological synapse. Heather enjoys golf, music and concerts, and movies/tv.
Emily received her BS in Biological Sciences and PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. She studies HIV mutagenesis and has helped develop a highly accurate sequencing technique for HIV that she is using to study host and viral factors that influence HIV mutation, as well as to measure the natural mutation rates and spectra of HIV in relevant primary cells. She also does work with lethal mutagens, and small molecule drugs that eliminate infection by increasing viral mutation rates. Her hobbies outside of the lab includes spending time with family and friends, such as her boyfriend Kenny, parents Beth and Pat, and brothers Joe and Sam, reading (books are just TV for smart people), cooking, enjoying the outdoors, and exercising. She is good at giving presentation and doesn't fear public speaking like the rest of us! She once got to pet a giant Galapagos tortoise named Elvis at the Phoenix Zoo! Best birthday ever!
Yumeng received her bachelors in Veterinary Medicine and masters in Preventative Veterinary Medicine at the Huazhong Agriculture University in Hubei, China. Her research focuses on molecular analysis of virus replication and cell-to-cell transmission, retrovirology, and hepadnavirology. She enjoys belly and flamenco dancing and is really good at cooking Chinese food (which we are thankful for when we have potlucks!). Her and her husband like trying exciting things together and went skydiving together on their honeymoon.
Morgan received her PhD in Molecular, Cellular and Structural Biology, as well as her Masters in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology from the University of Minnesota in 2019! Congrats! Her research focus is on cellular determinants of HIV mutagenesis. Outside of lab she can often be found writing, exploring new parks around the state with her dog, or volunteering with the Twin Cities Pet Rescue. Morgan is basically unbeatable at Mario Party, but that must be the kid in her because she still has three baby teeth! Her and her husband have two dogs, a cat, and a wonderful new baby girl! What a great year for Morgan!
Shuyu Meng got her BS in microbiology from Colorado State University. She is currently working on SARS-CoV-2 mutagenesis. Her hobbies and passions include playing piano, reading, and creative writing. Did you know she is comfortable with public speaking despite being an introvert?
Makky went to the University of Dubuque and majored in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. His research focus is pharmacology. I really likes hiking and loves archery. His archery skills are actually so impressive that he can split a ping pong ball from 20 yards! In a zombie apocolypse I'm staying near him! Makky once found a dog walking around in the cold and let it warm up in his car until the owner was contacted! His other love of animals includes his cat back home, two sisters, and one brother.
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Daniel graduated from Ohio State University with a BS in Biochemistry. He then enrolled in a two-year training program at the National Institutes of Health, where he studied ovarian cancer. Currently, he is studying the assembly and cell-cell transmission of human retroviral particles using cutting-edge cryo-EM techniques.
Outside of science, Dan's main passions are music and golf. A few of his other hobbies include traveling, hiking, camping, and skiing (downhill & water). He can also accurately estimate distances and times without the use of measuring devices/clocks……sometimes. He once saw Owen Wilson biking through the streets of Split, Croatia.
Dan has an adventurous three-year-old cat named Ezi (Et-zee) that wandered from home when she was one and was found over 50 miles away.
Nathaniel followed his mentor, Dr. Adam Frost, and attended graduate school at both the University of Utah and the University of California San Francisco where he received his PhD in Biochemistry. His research focus includes structural biology of immature retroviral particles. Nathaniel fancies alpine skiing and hiking and can ski backwards as well as forwards! For some strange reason, he actually enjoys winter.
Junyi received her Bachelors in Pharmaceutical Science at the University of California Irvine. She is still deciding on her research focus. She is good at studying different languages and she likes to collect cosmetic packaging boxes.
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Nora thinks she is a flamingo, but we keep telling her to put her foot down. She likes to keep the dream alive by hitting the snooze button. If you catch her smiling when something goes wrong, she's already thought of who to blame. Nora's been staring through the window ever since it started snowing. Pretty soon we'll have to let her in.
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Huixin went to school at the Nanjing Agricultural University where she received her Bachelors of Veterinary Medicine. Her research mainly focuses on the molecular and structural nature of the HIV particle assembly. She is interested in virus particle biogenesis and uses a combination of traditional and sophisticated state-of-the-art experimental approaches. Huixin loves to try different types of cuisine. Did you know she participated in a teenage TV show in 2005? Superstar!
Resilient Executive Administrative & Operations Specialist Crystal has an Associates in Accounting, Accounting Paraprofessional Certificate, and Accounting Technician Certificate I and II. She is currently going to school to get her BS in Psychology and Masters in Business. She is actually published too as a researcher on Monarch Butterflies! Other publications include The WAKE and small town magazine Ramshackle Mansion. She enjoys creative writing, piano, volleyball, softball, arts & crafts, baking, and photography. Really, she'll try just about anything once! She has 2 cats, 2 dogs, a beefcake of a boyfriend, and little beefcake is expected in April 2020!
Certificates: Accounting Paraprofessional, Accounting Technician I, Accounting Technician II, Project Coordinator, Project Management, Collaborative Leadership, Business Writing Principles, Communication Foundations, Enhancing Your Productivity, Gantt Charts, Note Taking for Business Professionals, Teamwork Foundations, Time Management, and Quality Standards in Customer Service.
Mascot Zoe enjoys tennis balls, pets, and anyone to come visit her! She is especially food motivated. Service dog to Crystal, this Love Bug likes to sleep in the office all day until someone comes in for a visit.