Sebla B. Kutluay, Ph. D.

Principal Investigator

Associate Professor

Graduate Program Affiliations:

  • Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis
  • Plant and Microbial Sciences
  • Biochemistry
  • Computational and Systems Biology

Office: Room 8220, McDonnell Pediatrics Research Building
Phone: 314-747-8908

Maritza Puray-Chavez, Ph. D.

Staff scientist

Maritza is originally from Peru and we has been part of our lab since 2018. She has been our fearless leader when it comes to SARS-CoV-2. Maritza is currently working on identifying mechanisms that define the cellular tropism of SARS-CoV-2 beyond the known receptor, ACE2. Maritza is the recipient of the departmental Stephen I. Morse postdoctoral fellowship and the Eddie Mendez postdoctoral award.

Abhishek Kumar, Ph. D.

Staff Scientist

Abhishek is originally from India and joined our lab in 2022. Abhishek is investigating the rules that govern HIV-1 integrase binding to the viral genomic RNA and how this event regulates virion maturation. On a second project, Abhishek is working to indentify new host factors that regulate viral RNA export and translation.

Sanja Dokic, Ph. D.

Postdoctoral fellow

Sanja is originally from Serbia and joined our lab in 2023. Sanja is trying to identify how HIV-1 integration is regulated in different cell types.

Ming (Celine) Xia

DBBS Graduate Student (PMB Program)

Celine is originally from China and joined our lab in 2023. She will be working on understanding the dependence of HIV-1 integrase-genomic RNA interactions on other viral proteins.

Hung (Kyle) R. Vuong

DBBS Graduate Student (MMMP Program)

Kyle is from Kentucky, USA and joined our lab in 2019. Kyle is investigating the RNA-binding properties of numerous antiviral host proteins and ISGs. He is also figuring out cool ways by which retroviruses package their genomes selectively and only as a dimer. Kyle is the recipient of NSF graduate research fellowship and has been supported by an NIH training grant.

Jenna E. Eschbach

DBBS Graduate Student (PMB Program)

Jenna is originally from Illinois, USA and joined our lab in 2021. Jenna is investigating how the stability of the HIV-1 capsid lattice alters innate immune sensing of HIV-1. Jenna is the recipient of the departmental Sondra Schlesinger and the NIH F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Fellowships.

Dana Q. Lawson

Research Associate

Dana is originally from the Saint Louis area and joined our lab 2016. She is managing our lab, keeping everyone in order and doing some really high-risk and high-return experiments. Stay tuned!

Shawn Mohammed

Research technician II

Shawn is originally from Illinois, USA and joined our lab first as a Wash U undergrad researcher in 2019 and transitioned to a technician spending his “gap” year in 2023. Shawn is leading efforts to understand the rules that govern selective packaging of dimeric HIV-1 genomes.

Qianzi Zhou

Bioinformatics Research Assistant

Qianzi is originally from China and joined our lab in 2023. She is developing data analysis pipelines for various NGS-based methods heavily utilized in the lab.

Qibo Wang

Undergraduate research assistant

Qibo is originally from China and joined our lab as a full-time summer undergraduate student in 2023. Currently, Qibo is helping with several of the above projects.

This could be YOU!

Any position

Come talk to us about the possibility of joining the lab!


Michaela Madison (Research Technician): University of Missouri School of Veterinary Medicine.

Dana Townsend (Research Technician): Currently a research tech at University of Washington.

Jenna Eschbach (Research Technician):  Graduate student at Washington University in STL.

Kasyap Tenneti (Research Technician): MD/PhD candidate at Rutgers University.

Jennifer Elliott (Graduate student-MMMP): Principal Scientist at GSK

Kacie Warshowsky (Research Technician): University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Keanu Davis (Research Technician): MD/PhD candidate at the Cornell Weill/Rockefeller U/MSK

Christian Shema Mugisha (Graduate student-MCB): Scientist at Novartis

Nakyung Lee (Bioinformatician): Graduate student at University of Maryland.

Yiqing (Mike) Wang (Bioinformatician): Graduate student at New York University.