The Guzzo Lab
A viral immunology laboratory focused on host-pathogen interactions and HIV infection.
Statement of Solidarity
The Guzzo Lab stands in solidarity with the Black community to denounce all forms of racism, and actively affirm that Black Lives Matter. We are outraged that the Black community has, for generations, been burdened with acts of systemic violence and police brutality. Furthermore, we know COVID-19 disproportionally affects Black and other marginalized groups due to failures of the system as a whole. The aforementioned examples are only a snapshot of systemic racism across the globe which has unjustly disadvantaged generations of individuals from racialized communities.
While only the Black community can truly understand the pain and trauma they have suffered at the hands of social injustices, allies must do their part to educate themselves in order to use their positionality in society to amplify Black voices and enact change. While we alone cannot resolve all the inequities caused by systemic racism in our society, the Guzzo Lab is committed to ensuring an inclusive education and training experience in our lab. Our commitments are further detailed on a separate page in this site.
Areas of Research
Dedicated studies to further our understanding of host-pathogen interactions.
Human Proteins Incorporated into the HIV-1 Envelope
The incorporation of host proteins into the HIV envelope is a result of the budding mechanism of viral egress in which HIV acquires its lipid envelope directly from the host cell plasma membrane. Virion-incorporated human proteins can decorate the surface of viral particles, and in some cases, these proteins can extend significantly farther out from the virus surface than the viral gp120 spike, depending on extracellular domain (ECD) length. Thus, host proteins could be better therapeutic targets than gp120 on the surface of virions, as they are more accessible and have been reported to be more abundant than gp120 using semi-quantitative methods. Furthermore, research in our lab has shown that host proteins on virion surfaces can significantly impact virus biology, including altering virus attachment, infectivity, and homing. Thus, our research is geared towards a better understanding of the protein landscape on virion surfaces and how this impacts HIV-1 infection and disease.
Novel Cytokine Expression Patterns
It has been well established that cytokines have extraordinary potential as ‘immunological multi-taskers’. These small molecular weight proteins can be expressed via a variety of stimuli, in a multitude of cell types throughout the body, and can elicit a broad range of responses. Key features of cytokines, such as glycosylation and positioning of charged domains, can drastically influence biological functions, protein stability, protein-protein interactions (oligomerization), and receptor engagement.
Interestingly, some cytokines can even be stored at high concentrations, preformed inside producer cells, awaiting rapid release without requiring de novo synthesis, resulting in high-speed immune responses. While much work is centered on downstream functions of cytokines, we seek to understand earlier events in the expression, secretion, and interplay among these proteins, in an effort to establish how cytokines are regulated in a normal-functioning immune system, before disease disrupts the equilibrium.
Want to learn more about our research projects?