August 09, 2018 – Another successful defense. Congrats, Dr. Kate Halm!

September 26, 2017 – Congratulations, Rana! Rana successfully defended her Master’s thesis.

March 2017 – Jamie Henzy discovered a 130 million year old retroviral envelope gene in fish!

September 2016 – Jamie Henzy has a new piece on Humboldt on Small Things Considered

July 2016 – Kevin R. McCarthy, Welkin E. Johnson, and Andrea Kirmaier. (2016) Phylogeny and History of the Lost SIV from Crab-Eating Macaques: SIVmfa. PLOS ONE. 2016 July 14.

March 2016 – Ted Diehl publishes his reconstruction of an ancient viral lineage in eLife.

This is from the HMS hooding ceremony on May 26, 2016. Welkin, Sergio, Alison, Prof. David Knipe (head of the Virology Program of Harvard Med. Sch.)




January 2016 – Congratulations Dr. Alison Hill!!!!  and Congratulations Dr. Sergio Ita!!!!

August 2015 – McCarthy KR et al. (2015) Evolutionary and Functional Analysis of Old World Primate TRIM5 Reveals the Ancient Emergence of Primate Lentiviruses and Convergent Evolution Targeting a Conserved Capsid Interface. PLoS Pathogens. DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005085

March 2015 – Graduate students meet the public at the Museum of Science Health Fair!

​On March 20-21, 2015, the Museum of Science held its first ever Health Fair, featuring local scientists studying microbes of all kinds. The goal of the fair was for local students and other museum visitors to meet real scientists and get a sense of the vast, invisible world of microbes. All of the graduate students in the lab participated, and worked hard to present what the lab does in an easy-to-digest format for museum visitors of all education levels.​ Here’s some of the information they presented:









June 2014
CONGRATULATIONS!!!!  Dr. Annabel Krupp

May 2014
CONGRATULATIONS go out to Anindita Sinha!  She successfully passed her qualifying exam!

April 2014
Kevin had a manuscript published in PLoS Pathogens titled “Plastic Proteins and Monkey Blocks: How Lentiviruses Evolved to Replicate in the Presence of Primate Restriction Factors.”
Undergraduate Research Day is Friday May 2  1:30-3:30.
1/27/14 – Jamie has a new story published on Small Things Considered “Neanderthal Me

January 2014 Goings On
Nirali Patel was awarded a Spring 2014 Undergraduate Research Fellowship!  Congratulations Nirali!!!!
Eva-Katharina Pauli gave a talk entitled “USP15 Promotes RIG-I Antiviral Signaling by Stabilizing TRIM25″ at the Keystone Conference Innate Immunity to Viral Infections in Keystone, Colorado.

Very Interesting Reading!!!  De-discovering pathogens:Viral contamination strikes again!

May 2013
On May 3, our undergraduates presented posters during the Boston College Biology Department Undergraduate Research Day.
Maureen Regan (’13, mentor Andrea Kirmaier) Characterizing Conserved Mutations in the Matrix 30 Residue of HIV-1 and SIVmac
Aleksandra Savinkina (’13, mentor Alison Hill) Adaptations of simian immunodeficiency virus in sooty mangabeys to novel human hosts
Caleb Swaim (’13, mentor Ted Diehl) Endogenous Retrovirus-Fc is a Tool for Exploring Host Virus Interaction
Nirali Patel (’15, mentor Ted Diehl) Dissemination and Amplification of ERV-Fc in Old World Primate Genomes
Photos from the day’s activities are posted on our Photo Page.


Welkin blogged a new book review for Small Things Considered.  The book is Viruses: Essential Agents of Life (2012, Springer), edited by Günter Witzany.  Check out STC for the review.
No lab meeting on Jan 21…campus holiday
Lab Meeting will be moving to Room 552 at Noon!!!
Lab meeting on Jan 28 will be Ben with no Journal Club
Picture and Bios due for Website by Jan 28
Lab Jobs Changing on Jan 28


“Two viruses and an elephant walk into a bar…”get the rest of the story by reading Welkin’s latest post on Small Things Considered

Convergent Evolution of Argonaute-2 Slicer Antagonism
in Two Distinct Insect RNA Viruses

Andrea presented a very interesting paper from PLoS Pathogens by van Mierlo et al, on RNAi inhibition of RNA viruses in insects, and specifically about proteins in two viruses that have apparently evolved to counteract RNAi. The paper combines genomics, molecular biology, and even some Drosophila genetics to make its point.
The paper citation is PLoS Pathog 8(8): e1002872. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1002872 and can be found here.

NEWS: Johnson Lab Page To Go Live Any Day Now

Poxviruses deploy genomic accordions to adapt rapidly against host antiviral defenses.
Cell. 2012 Aug 17;150(4):831-41. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.05.049.

Jamie presented a recent paper by our friend and colleague Nels Elde, based on work he did as a postdoc in Harmit Malik’s lab. Nels now has his own lab at the University of Utah. In this study, Nels and Harmit use deep-sequencing to take a close look at how poxvirus genomes evolve in response to selective pressure, revealing a unique mechanism they refer to as “gene accordions”.  John Roth also published a nice commentary on the work.






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