Structural Virology, Informatics and Customized Vaccine Design

Vijay Reddy, PhD
Associate Professor
Section Leader

Our laboratory interests include: 

  • Three dimensional structural analyses of viral capsids and proteins
  • Structural Bioinformatics and Homology Modeling
  • Customized Vaccine Design

We employ methods in:

  • Structural biology: X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM)
  • Bioinformatics: relational databases and data-mining
  • Molecular Biology: vaccine/protein design, expression
  • Biophysical methods

Research Focus

Our research interests are to determine the three dimensional structures of proteins and molecular assemblies such as viruses and to identify the structural underpinnings and requirements for the self-assembly, stability and targeting specificities of viral capsids (Venkataraman et al., 2008; Reddy et al., 2010; Reddy et a., 2022). We further use this information as a knowledge-base to design novel protein shells that polyvalently display multiple copies of peptides/proteins of interest. We employ X-ray crystallography, cryo-EM, computational, bioinformatics and genetic methods to investigate these areas of research.

Viruses are highly evolved macromolecular assemblages that perform a variety of functions during their life cycle: self-assemble to form closed capsids, selective packaging of the genome, binding and followed by delivery of the genetic material to the susceptible target cells. Simple viruses such as non-enveloped viruses form capsids that are homogeneous in their composition and quaternary architecture. Hence are amenable for structural and functional analyses.

In collaboration with Professor Glen Nemerow’s group at TSRI, we determined the crystal structure of Human adenovirus at near atomic resolution (Reddy et al, 2010; Natchiar et al, 2018), the biggest virus structure yet determined to date by X-ray crystallography. Recently, we determined multiple adenovirus structures using cryo-EM in collaboration with Professor Michael Barry’s group at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN (Yu et. al., 2017, Reddy et al., 2022).

We are also actively involved in maintaining and developing the popular virus structure database, VIPERdb ( of spherical virus structures and their computational and bioinformatics analysis (Carrillo-Tripp et al, 2009; Montiel-Garcia et al., 2021).

We also use simple virus capsids as platforms for displaying pathogenic epitopes of interest to generate customized vaccines (Kumar et al., 2009).