Carnegie Mellon University
November 11, 2014

Evilevitch's research featured in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Studies by a Carnegie Mellon University lab have shown that some viruses violently expel their DNA inside human cells when the virus reaches body temperature, and that it might be possible to stop the spread of infection by interrupting that process.  Research by CMU biophysicist Alex Evilevitch and his team demonstrated for the first time how the DNA packaged inside viruses shifts from being stiffly inflexible to becoming loose and active when the virus approaches 98.6 degrees.  In one study involving the herpes simplex virus, which affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, the researchers also found that negative electrical charges in the viral DNA accelerated its explosion into human cells. The studies raise the possibility that it might be possible to treat viral infections by controlling this transition in the mobility of viral DNA.

This research was recently featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.