Human norovirus - a gut infection that causes diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain - are estimated to cause up to 200,000 childhood deaths per year world-wide. To infect a cell, a virus must first attach its protein coat to the cell membrane. Anti-drugs block the attachment process in some cases, but for many viruses, researchers do not have enough information about the details of the process.
Professor Fredrik Höök studies cell membrane mimics – artificial variants of membranes that coat all cells. He and his team are now working on two particularly promising projects. One focuses on separating membrane proteins for identification of drug targets. The other focuses on viral infection – how virus particles and cell membranes interact when a virus crosses the membrane. Potentially, either could have an enormous impact on the development of new drugs and our ability to treat any number of diseases. Given five or ten years, Höök hopes much of what he and some of his younger colleagues are now working on will contribute to modern science; rather like they did when he first came to Chalmers, before the field of biosensors was internationally recognized.
Escalating the power of the small