Yorgo Eugene Modis PhD

Research Scientist in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry

Biographical Info

The laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions using X-ray crystallography, microscopy, and other biophysical and biochemical approaches. The laboratory places a special emphasis (1) on understanding how flaviviruses such as dengue virus enter host cells, and (2) on studying the molecular basis of recognition of flaviviruses and other microbes by receptors of the innate immune system.

Dr. Modis graduated from the University of Cambridge (U.K.), and received a PhD in Structural Biology from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Heidelberg, Germany). Dr. Modis began to study how viruses enter host cells as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. Notably, he determined the structure of the envelope protein of dengue virus in two different conformations: before and after fusion of the viral and host-cell membranes. The structures reveal the molecular basis for fusion of the viral and host cell membrane in a class of viral fusion proteins that includes many other important human pathogens, such as yellow fever, hepatitis C and West Nile viruses.

Current work in the laboratory focuses on completing our picture of membrane fusion in flaviviruses, and on understanding the molecular mechanisms of antibody neutralization of these viruses. In a new set of projects, we aim to understand, at the molecular level, how innate immune receptors such as the Toll-like receptors and the Rig-I-like receptors recognize flaviviruses (and other microbes), and how this recognition is translated into an immune response.


Education & Training

Ph.D.
European Molecular Biology Laboratorium (EMBL) (1999)
Postdoctoral Fellow
Harvard Medical School (Boston Children's Hospital), Human Frontier Science Program (2000 - 2004)
Postdoctoral Fellow
European Molecular Biology Organization

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