Current Members

Katya Heldwein, PhD, Principal Investigator

Katya received her PhD from Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, OR where she studied ligand recognition by bacterial transcription regulators using x-ray crystallography in the laboratory of Richard Brennan. She then did her postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School in the laboratory of Stephen Harrison where she initially worked on clathrin adaptor complexes and later delved into herpesvirus cell entry. She opened her own laboratory at Tufts University School of Medicine in the Fall of 2006.


Heidi Burke, PhD Student, Molecular Microbiology MERGE-ID Program

Heidi obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from University of Washington. She studies glycoproteins of human cytomegalovirus – a herpesvirus that causes severe infections in neonates and immunocompromised persons. Heidi’s ambition is to gain a better understanding of the cell entry mechanism of cytomegalovirus by determining the structures of these proteins and the complexes they form.


Rebecca Cooper, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Rebecca earned her BS degree from Rice University where she majored in Chemical Engineering. After working as a chemical engineer, she got her PhD in Molecular Biophysics from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Rebecca’s goal will be to determine the structure of the full-length HSV-1 gB and to determine the nature of fusogenic conformational changes that it undergoes during viral entry.


Elizabeth Draganova, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Elizabeth received her PhD in Chemistry from Georgia State University after completing her BS in Biochemistry from Kennesaw State University. She is interested in understanding the structural and mechanistic features of the HSV-1 nuclear egress complex by utilizing a variety of biochemical and biophysical techniques.



Xuanzong Guo, MS, Senior Research Technician

Xuan recently completed his master’s degree in Biology from MIT. Xuan is working with Rebecca to understand the roles of various domains of gB in regulating viral fusion.



Andrea Koenigsberg, PhD Student, Molecular Microbiology Program

Andrea received a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Bowdoin College shortly before starting her graduate training. Andrea’s project focuses on conserved tegument proteins that are necessary for capsid trafficking and characterizing their interactions with unidentified viral and host partners.



Claire Metrick, PhD Student, Biochemistry Program

Claire graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and worked in the pharmaceutical industry before starting her graduate studies. Her project deals with a trio of HSV-1 proteins that are necessary for the cytoplasmic budding of capsids yet mysteriously spend much of their time in the nucleus.



Ellen White, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Ellen came to us from Yale University, where she received her PhD in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry after completing her BS in Chemistry at James Madison University. Ellen is working on isolating and characterizing the prefusion form of gB.