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Max Renner

Post Doctoral Research Associate

Respiratory tract infections are a leading factor in child mortality worldwide, with human Metapneumovirus (hMPV) being a major cause of lower respiratory tract illness in children. Similar to the important human pathogen respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), hMPV infections can cause fever, rhinorrhea, cough, bronchiolitis and pneumonia. Infections with hMPV are found to be most severe in immunosuppressed patients and in the elderly. To further our understanding of the mechanisms underpinning the pathogenicity of this virus it is clear that an in-depth understanding of its biology is both relevant and desirable. To this end we are utilizing a variety of biophysical methods including x-ray scattering techniques and molecular modelling to elucidate the structural and dynamic properties of the components of the hMPV particle. My focus hereby lies in the characterization of components of the viral replication machinery and the nucleocapsid which constitutes the packaged form of the viral RNA genome. We combine these methods with electron microscopy of large macromolecular assemblies to gain a holistic understanding of biological structures at different scales and in functional contexts.