Dr. Whittaker is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and has been associated with the department since 1996. He received a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and his Ph.D. in Microbiology from Leeds University U.K. where he studied the molecular biology and biochemistry of equine herpesvirus. He obtained postdoctoral training at Yale University in the laboratory of Dr. Ari Helenius, studying the cell biology of influenza virus replication. Dr Whittaker's laboratory is focused on the entry of influenza viruses, rhaboviurses and coronaviruses into host cells and is funded by research grants from the National Institutes of Health.
Current research interests of the Whittaker lab focus on how enveloped viruses enter host cells. The laboratory focuses on three principal viral systems; 1) influenza virus - including avian and equine influenza, 2) coronaviruses - including avian infectious bronchitis virus, feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV) and the SARS-coronavirus, and 3) Rhabdoviruses - vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV). All of these viruses enter cells following receptor binding and fusion of the virus envelope with the cell membrane. The focus of the laboratory is on how receptor utilization interfaces with the route of endocytosis, the proteolytic priming of the envelope protein and the pH-dependent activation of membrane fusion. We utilize a variety of techniques, encompassing molecular and cell biology and biochemistry, as well as structural studies of the viral fusion proteins.
Dr. Whittaker is a member of the following Graduate Fields:
Biochemistry, Molecular & Cell Biology
Program in Virology at Cornell University
Sun X, Tse LV, Ferguson AD, Whittaker GR. (2010). Modifications to the hemagglutinin cleavage site control virulence of a neurotropic H1N1 influenza virus. J Virol. Jun 16. [Epub ahead of print]
Belouzard S, Madu I, Whittaker GR. (2010). Elastase-mediated activation of the SARS coronavirus spike protein at discrete sites within the S2 domain. J Biol Chem. May 27. [Epub ahead of print]
Regan AD, Ousterout DG, Whittaker GR. (2010). Feline lectin activity is critical for the cellular entry of feline infectious peritonitis virus. J Virol. May 19. [Epub ahead of print]
Belouzard S, Chu VC, Whittaker GR. (2009). Activation of the SARS coronavirus spike protein via sequential proteolytic cleavage at two distinct sites. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 106:5871-5876.
Zhang, Y., Buckles, E.L. and Whittaker, G.R. (2012). Expression of the C-type lectins DC-SIGN or L-SIGN alters host cell susceptibility for the avian coronavirus, infectious bronchitis virus. Vet Microbiol. 2012 Jan 17. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 22340967.