Zachary Williams


Zachary Williams 
BS, Biology 
Bryan College
Dayton, TN 
PhD, Molecular Microbiology
Sackler School, Tufts University
Boston, MA
Postdoctoral Scholar
John Coffin, PhD, Adviser




I am interested in using retroviruses as tools to study viral-host coevolution and pathogenesis and the evolutionary pressures that lead some microbes to become less virulent over time, while others remain locked in an evolutionary arms race with their hosts. I am using an avian leukosis virus (ALV) and focusing on virus - receptor interaction. Different strains of ALV bind to very different receptor proteins while certain mutations allow ALV to infect cells without using a receptor, conferring a much wider host range, but less efficient infection. I am trying to determine if viral mutations allow one strain to evolve to use the receptor of another or perhaps an entirely new receptor. Such studies should help us understand viral evolution.

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