Gaya K. Amarasinghe, Ph.D.

Alumni Endowed Professor
Pathology and Immunology
Laboratory and Genomic Medicine
Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
Molecular Microbiology

Immunology Program
Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology Program
Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis Program

  • (314) 286-0619

  • 314-286-0690

  • 7752A CSRB



  • biochemistry, structural biology, signaling, virology, host pathogen interactions, immunology

  • Molecular mechanisms at the host-pathogen interface

Research Abstract:

The overarching goal of my research program is to develop a mechanistic understanding of host-pathogen interactions with biological consequences to pathogenesis. These interactions promote host immune suppression and enhance pathogen replication in cell and tissue specific manner, but they remain incompletely described. Results from these studies will inform on molecular mechanisms of action during infection as well as insights into potential therapeutic targets and mechanisms of action. We currently use biochemical and biophysical methods to identify and characterize host-pathogen interfaces in order to develop a molecular framework. These efforts, supported by multiple funding sources, provide opportunities training opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows.

Mentorship and Commitment to Diversity Statement:
Mission Statement: To train the next generation of biochemists and biophysicists and to solve challenging questions one host-pathogen interface at a time. We interrogate biological systems from a physical and structural perspective at molecular, cellular, and organismic level with the goal to better define processes that contribute to pathogenesis. We also expect to define innovative diagnostics and therapeutics.

Values: To create an environment that values equity and inclusiveness that guides our decision making. Our values also allow us to discuss challenging issues openly, challenge each other and agree or disagree without being disagreeable. Our individual and collective values reflect our overall goal of an inclusive culture that encourages independent scientific inquiry within a team-based setting.

Selected Publications:

Leung DW,
Ginder ND, Fulton DB, Nix J, Basler CF, Honzatko RB, Amarasinghe GK. Structure of the Ebola VP35 interferon inhibitory
domain. Proc Natl Acad Sci 2009; 106(2):411-416. PMCID: PMC2626716

Hyde JL, Gardner CL, Kimura T, White JP, Liu G, Trobaugh DW,
Huang C, Tonelli M, Paessler S, Takeda K, Klimstra WB, Amarasinghe GK, Diamond MS. A viral RNA structural element alters
host recognition of non-self RNA. Science
2014; 343(6172):783-787. PMCID: PMC4209899

Leung DW, Borek D, Luthra P, Binning JM, Anantpadma M, Liu G,
Harvey IB, Su Z, Endlich-Frazier A, Pan J, Shabman RS, Chiu W, Davey RA,
Otwinowski Z, Basler CF, Amarasinghe GK.
An Intrinsically Disordered Peptide from Ebola Virus VP35 Controls Viral RNA
Synthesis by Modulating Nucleoprotein-RNA Interactions. Cell Rep 2015; 11(3):376-389.  PMCID: PMC4599368

Xu W, Luthra P, Wu C, Batra J Leung DW, Basler CF, Amarasinghe GK. Ebola virus VP30 and
nucleoprotein interactions modulate viral RNA synthesis. Nat Commun 2017;
8:15576. PMCID: PMC5472179

Xu W, Luthra P, Wu C, Batra J, Leung DW, Basler DW, Amarasinghe GK. Ebola virus VP30 and
nucleoprotein interactions modulate viral RNA synthesis. Nat Commun 2017; 8:15576.
PMCID: PMC5472179

Su Z, Wu C, Shi L, Luthra P, Pintilie GD, Johnson B, Porter
JR, Ge P, Chen M, Liu G, Frederick TE, Binning JM, Bowman GR, Zhou ZH, Basler
CF, Gross ML, Leung DW, Chiu W, Amarasinghe
. Electron cryo-microscopy structure of Ebola virus nucleoprotein reveals
a mechanism for nucleocapsid-like assembly. Cell 2018; 172(5):966-978. PMCID:

Johnson B, VanBlargan LA, Xu W, White JP, Shan
C, Shi PY, Zhang R, Adhikari J, Gross ML, Diamond MS, Amarasinghe GK. Human IFIT3 modulates IFIT1 RNA binding specificity
and protein stability. Immunity 2018; 48(3):487-499. PMCID: PMC6251713

Last Updated: 1/16/2022 11:28:42 AM

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