Damien C. Ekiert

Damien C. Ekiert

B.A. in Biology, 2005, The University of Chicago Research with Profs. Michael Glotzer, Bernard Strauss (U. Chicago) and Masamichi Kohiyama (Institut Jacques Monod, Paris)


— NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Honorable Mention, 2007
— Undergraduate Honors Thesis – “Cell cycle control in bacteria:
    The coordination of DNA replication and cell division in Escherichia coli.”
    The University of Chicago, June 2005.
— J.M. Rubin Fellow, 2001-5 — Richter Fund Grant for Undergraduate Research, 2004.
— Howard Hughes Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow, 2004.
— Dean’s List, 2001-2005

Professor Ian Wilson
Department of Molecular Biology

Research at TSRI:
Influenza constitutes a significant threat to public health worldwide. The 1918, 1957, and 1968 pandemic viruses originated in birds, leading to grave concern that a highly pathogenic avian H5N1 influenza virus may seed the next major outbreak. However, it may be possible to prevent or diminish the spread of a new pandemic virus if we could A) predict which strains pose the greatest pandemic potential and B) engineer a more potent vaccine that provides durable protection against a broader range of influenza viruses. Towards these ends, we are investigating the mechanism of receptor specificity switching and antibody neutralization of the influenza virus hemagglutinin using baculovirus display and by X-ray crystallography. This work will aid the identification of influenza lineages that are most likely to trigger the next human pandemic. Moreover, the identification of highly conserved epitopes on hemagglutinin will facilitate the design of improved vaccines that induce high quality, broadly neutralizing antibodies.

“Antibody Recognition of a Highly Conserved Influenza Virus Epitope” Ekiert DC, Bhabha G, Elsliger MA, Friesen RH, Jongeneelen M, Throsby M, Goudsmit J, Wilson IA. Science, 2009, 324, 246-251.

“Sequential Cyk-4 binding to ECT2 and FIP3 regulates cleavage furrow ingression and abscission during cytokinesis” Simon G., Schonteich, E., Wu, C., Piekny, A., Ekiert, D., Yu, X., Gould, G., Glotzer, M., a nd Prekeris, R. EMBO J, 2008, 27, 1791-1803.

“Generation of DNA-free E. coli cells by 2-aminopurine requires mismatch repair and non-methylated DNA” Matic, I., Ekiert, D., Radman, M., and Kohiyama, M. J Bacteriol. 2006, 188, 339-342.

“Cytochrome oxidase deficiency protects Escherichia coli from cell death and filamentation due to thymine deficiency or DNA polymerase inactivation” Strauss, B., Kelly, K., Ekiert, D. J Bacteriol. 2005, 187, 2827-2835.

“Cell death in Escherichia coli dnaE(ts) mutants incubated at nonpermissive temperature is prevented by mutation in the cydA gene” Strauss, B., Kelly, K., Dincman, T., Ekiert, D., Biesieda, T., Song, R. J Bacteriol.,
2004, 186, 2147-2155.