Dr Viktoriya Stancheva from the Sanyal lab at the Dunn School was awarded a Wellcome Trust Early Career Fellowship.
Vicky completed her PhD in the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge where she worked to understand the principles of COPII coat assembly in the early secretory pathway under the supervision of Dr Liz Miller. She used both in vitro and genetic approaches to study the interactions between the two protein layers of the COPII vesicle coat. After completing her PhD, she wished to apply her experience in endomembrane biology to the medically relevant field of flavivirus biology. With that goal, she joined the Sanyal lab at the Dunn School in August 2021.
Earlier this year, Vicky was awarded a Wellcome Trust Early Career Fellowship to work on an independent project within the. Her project focuses on studying the rewiring of contact sites during flavivirus infection. This process is of great importance because flaviviruses reorganize cellular resources and signalling platforms to evade immune detection and replicate within the host cell at a specific site called the replication organelle (RO). The RO formation depends on host organelles such as the endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria and lipid droplets. These are connected through contact sites which are able to regulate the organelle homeostasis and immune signalling. Vicky is grateful for the Fellowship as it will aid her to develop her research identity and learn experimental techniques that reveal the fundamental aspects of viral infection and cellular biology. As she explained the Fellowship will allow her to “expand on her previous experience and provide her with the necessary skill set to establish her unique niche in the growing field of contact site biology”.
- Written by Lena Duma (I Ahel group)