Daniel A. Engel, PhD

Daniel A. Engel, PhD

Daniel  A.  Engel
Degree(s): PhD
Graduate School: Yale University
Primary Appointment: Professor, Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology
Research Interests:
Drug discovery and molecular biology of influenza virus and dengue virus.
Email Address: dae2s@virginia.edu

Biomedical Sciences Graduate Programs

Research Description

Drug Discovery and Molecular Biology of Influenza Virus and Dengue Virus

Treatment of two major viral diseases, influenza and dengue fever, would benefit from new pharmaceuticals.  For influenza, the yearly “seasonal” vaccine does not keep up with the constant genetic drift of the virus, or with new pandemic strains.  For dengue virus, there are no vaccines or drugs available despite approximately 100 million cases per year worldwide. 

We are developing new approaches to identifying chemical inhibitors for influenza and dengue virus.  One approach is “chemical-genetic”, and it employs the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a test tube. We genetically modify yeast to express specific viral proteins such as the NS1 protein from influenza virus.  This expression system is then used to screen for new chemical compounds that can inhibit the function of the viral protein in the yeast cell.  Next, the inhibitors are tested for their ability to block virus replication in mammalian cell culture.  Their mechanisms of action are studied using a combination of molecular, genetic, medicinal chemistry and structural biology methods.  In the case of the influenza NS1 protein, which normally blocks the host cell’s interferon system, our inhibitors restore both interferon signaling and the host cell’s ability to prevent virus replication.

It is hoped that these antiviral compounds will be useful clinically and also as probes of biological function.  We are using similar chemical-genetic approaches to target cellular “host factors” that are required for dengue virus replication.  Finally, we are studying the enzymology and structure of the dengue virus protease in order to design specific chemical inhibitors that will block virus replication by inhibiting viral protease activity.

Selected Publications

Basu, D., Walkiewicz, M., Matthew Frieman, Ralph S. Baric, Auble, D.T. and Engel, D.A. 2009. Novel influenza NS1 antagonists block replication and restore innate immune function. J. Virol. 2009 83: 1881-1891.

Walkiewicz, M. Morral, N. and Engel, DA. 2009. Accurate single-day titration of adenovirus vectors based on equivalence of protein VII nuclear dots and infectious particles. Submitted.

Rao M, Casimiro MC, Lisanti MP, D'Amico M, Wang C, Shirley LA, Leader JE, Liu M, Stallcup M, Engel DA, Murphy DJ, Pestell RG. 2008. Inhibition of cyclin D1 gene transcription by Brg-1. Cell Cycle 7, 647-55.

Chen J, Morral N, Engel DA. 2007. Transcription releases protein VII from adenovirus chromatin. Virology. 2007 369, 411-22.

PubMed Listings for this Faculty Member

Contact Information
Office Address: PO Box 800734 Jordan Hall, 7224,
Office Phone: +1 434-924-8633, +1 434-924-2817
Fax Phone: +1 434-982-1071
Home Phone: +1 434-295-9287