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IMV Executive Assistant


tel. (612) 624-1926

fax. (612) 625-1108


18-242 Moos Tower
515 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

General Questions:

Wei Zhang,
Assistant Professor

Diagnostic & Biological Sciences
Institute of Technology Characterization Facility



B.S., Nankai University, P. R. China, 1989

M.S., Institute of Biophysics, Academica Sinica, P.R. China, 1992

Ph.D, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, 2001

Research Interests

A key step in the entry of enveloped viruses, such as influenza virus, HIV, West Nile virus and Sindbis virus, into the host cell, is fusion of the viral envelope with the host cell membrane. My research aims to illustrate the structural details of this process using Sindbis virus as a model system. Cryo-electron microscopy and three-dimensional image reconstruction techniques will be used to determine the structure of the virus-membrane complex at nanometer resolution. Fitting the crystal structure of the viral fusion protein into the reconstruction map will lead to discovery of the conformation, oligomerization and organization of the fusion proteins at the site of membrane interaction. The structural knowledge gained from this research will provide potential targets for anti-viral reagents. In addition, this study will also help to establish a general approach for structural investigation of membrane fusion carried out by other enveloped viruses.

Selected Recent Publications

  • Yu, I.-M., W. Zhang, H. A. Holdaway, L. Li, V. A. Kostyuchenko, P. R. Chipman, R. J. Kuhn, M. G. Rossmann, J. Chen. 2008. Structure of immature dengue virus at low pH primes proteolytic maturation. Science. 319:1834-1837.
  • Kaufmann, B., G. E. Nybakken, P. R. Chipman, W. Zhang, M. S. Diamond, D. H. Fremont, R. J. Kuhn, M. G. Rossmann. 2006. West Nile virus in complex with the Fab fragment of a neutralizing monoclonal antibody. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S. 103:12400-12404.
  • Mukhopadhyay, S., W. Zhang, S. Gabler, P. R. Chipman, E. G. Strauss, J. H. Strauss, T. S. Baker, R. J. Kuhn, M. G. Rossmann. 2006. Mapping the structure and function of the E1 and E2 glycoproteins in alphaviruses. Structure. 14:63-73.
  • Ji, Y., D. C. Marinescu, W. Zhang, X. Zhang, X. Yan, T. S. Baker. 2006. A model-based parallel alignment algorithm for cryoTEM and its application to the study of virus structures. J. Struct. Biol. 154:1-19.
  • Zhang, W., M. Heil, R. J. Kuhn, T. S. Baker. 2005. Heparin binding sites on Ross River virus revealed by electron cryo-microscopy. Virology 332:511-518.
  • Rossmann, M. G., M. C. Morais, P. Leiman, W. Zhang. 2005. Combining X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy. Structure 13:355-362.

Featured News & Events

'Wisc-e-sota', a Joint UMN-UW Virology Training Grant Symposium was first held on Friday, Sepbember 20th, 2013 at the Uniiversity of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Cartwright Center. This was the inaugural collaborative symposium of the NIH T32-supported virology training programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Talks and poster sessions were presented by students, postdocs and faculty. The second UMN-UW Virology Training Grant Symposium will be held in the Fall 2014. Details to follow.

The 2014 IMV Symposium will be held on May 12, 2014 and Mark Denison (Vanderbilt) and Bert Semler (UC-Irvine) will be the Keynote Speakers. Click on the link below to register and submit abstracts.

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Read about bacteriophage phi 29 and why it matters.

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"This Week in Virology" from professor Vincent Racaniello.