denison mark

Dr. Mark Denison is Professor of Pediatrics, and Professor of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Dr. Denison’s research is focused on the replication, cell biology, genetics, and evolution of the coronaviruses, a family of positive-strand RNA viruses with significant medical and veterinary importance.  The emergence of SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) demonstrated the potential of coronaviruses for severe human disease and zoonotic coronavirus epidemics or pandemics. The Denison Lab has made key discoveries on the viral replicase proteins that direct protein processing, host-cell modifications, and replication fidelity.  Dr. Denison and colleagues also have demonstrated the synthetic recovery of a non-cultivatable bat SARS-like coronavirus from genetic sequence only, which will allow testing of mechanisms of coronavirus host species movement. Most recently, his group has determined that a coronavirus protein, the nsp14 exonuclease, is required for faithful replication of the large coronavirus genome, and likely functions in RNA dependent RNA proofreading, previously unprecedented among RNA viruses.