Luis M. Schang, MV, PhD
Baker Institute for Animal Health
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Professor of Chemical Virology
Baker Institute for Animal Health
235 Hungerford Hill Road
Ithaca, NY 14853
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
Baker Research Interests
Animals and humans alike suffer from viral infections, and new viruses continue to emerge on the scene year after year. To learn about viral diseases, Institute Director Dr. Luis Schang uses small molecules with drug-like properties to probe the ways viruses cause infections. He is most interested in finding common features among the many viruses that cause disease in animals or humans. With his research, Schang is learning more and more about how viruses, despite their tiny size, make big problems in health. He’s also uncovering important information on how to use only a few drugs to fight infections with many different viruses, or even stop them before they start.
- Learning how viruses enter cells. Any virus – from Zika virus to herpesviruses – needs to enter cells to cause disease. Although every virus takes a different approach, there are some common tools that all or many viruses use for this microscopic act of breaking and entering. To identify these shared approaches, Schang and his team are testing different types of chemical compounds on a broad array of different viruses to see whether they have an effect on the ability of these viruses to enter cells. This information helps us understand viruses and the way the cause infections, and it also points the way toward new antiviral drugs. Compounds that work against a variety of different viruses are good candidates for the development of broad-spectrum antivirals, a possibility that Schang pursues whenever they discover a potentially useful compound.
- Studying how viruses turn DNA into action to replicate and cause disease. Schang is seeking to better understand how viruses ensure their genetic information gets turned into action by studying herpesviruses. All mammals suffer from their own particular set of herpesviruses, and while these infections are fatal only on occasion, the viruses cause painful and debilitating diseases that curb quality of life and leave the person or animal vulnerable to other infections. When certain types of viruses, including herpesviruses, invade a cell, their DNA gets bundled up tight into coils and wrapped around barrel-shaped proteins very much like the DNA that belongs to the host cell. This “chromatinized” viral DNA is mostly inaccessible, which forces the virus to go dormant and prevents it from spreading to other cells. These seemingly dead-end viruses are not helpless, however. Herpesviruses have found ways to thrive during this dormant period. What’s more, they occasionally bypass the process, disrupt the chromatin, and transcribe their genetic information to replicate themselves, spreading the infection to other cells and causing new outbreaks of disease. Together with his team, Schang is working to determine how the virus manages this end-run around chromatin and causes full-blown infections. By exploring the way the virus gets this done, they may also discern ways to prevent the virus from disrupting chromatin, ending a herpesvirus reactivation before it can produce a new outbreak of disease.
1982–1987 Médico Veterinario (MV). School of Veterinary Sciences, National University of Buenos Aires (UBA), Argentina.
Graduate with distinction, Highest GPA in the class.
1991–1995 Doctor in Philosophy (Ph.D.). Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE.
Graduated with distinction.
- 1995–1996 Research Associate. Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln, NE.
- 1996–2000 Post Doctoral Fellow. Department of Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.
- 2000–2006, Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, with Cross-Appointment in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology (MMI).
- 2006–2012, Associate Professor (Tenured), Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, with Cross-Appointment in MMI.
- 2012–2016, Professor (Tenured), Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, with Cross-Appointment in MMI.
- 2000–2016, Member of the Signal Transduction Research Group.
- 2000–2010, Member of the Molecular Mechanisms of Growth Control Research Group.
- 2004–2016, Member of the Alberta Centre for Prion and Protein Folding Diseases.
- 2007–2015, Member of the Alberta Veterinary Research Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.
- 2011–2016, Founding Member, Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.
- 2016–ongoing, Professor of Chemical Virology (Tenured), Baker Institute for Animal Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Links and abstracts for all of Dr. Schang's publications can be found at NCBI.
- Gibeault, RL; Conn, KL; Bildersheim, MD; Schang, LM; (2016). An Essential Viral Transcription Activator Modulates Chromatin Dynamics. PLOS Pathogens. 12(8).
- Colpitts, CC; Schang, LM; (2014). A small molecule inhibits virion attachment to heparan sulfate- or sialic acid-containing glycans. Journal of Virology, 88(14), 7806-17.
- Conn, KL; Hendzel, MJ; Schang, LM; (2013). The differential mobilization of histones H3.1 and H3.3 by herpes simplex virus 1 relates histone dynamics to the assembly of viral chromatin. PLOS Pathogens. 9(10).
- Colpitts, CC; Ustinov, AV; Epand, RF; Epand, RM; Korshun, VA; Schang, LM; (2013). 5-(Perylen-3-yl)ethynyl-arabino-uridine (aUY11), an arabino-based rigid amphipathic fusion inhibitor, targets virion envelope lipids to inhibit fusion of influenza virus, hepatitis C virus, and other enveloped viruses. Journal of Virology, 87(7), 3640-54.
- St Vincent, MR; Colpitts, CC; Ustinov, AV; Muqadas, M; Joyce, MA; Barsby, NL; Epand, RF; Epand, RM; Khramyshev, SA; Valueva, OA; Korshun, VA; Tyrrell, DL; Schang, LM; (2010). Rigid amphipathic fusion inhibitors, small molecule antiviral compounds against enveloped viruses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(40), 17339-44.
Awards and Honors
- Joseph J. Garbarino Achievement award, granted by the Animal Health Institute Foundation (Alexandria, VA) in recognition of “outstanding original research in animal health”, 1995.
- New Investigator Award, granted by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), 2002–2007 (see grants for details).
- AHFMR Scholar Award, granted by the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR), 2002–2007 (see grants for details).
- Burroughs-Welcome Fund Investigator in Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease (US$ 450,000), 2006–2013 (see grants for details).
- McCalla Professorship, in recognition of significant contributions to their field of research, teaching and learning, University of Alberta, 2007.
- Louis D. Hyndmann Sr. Award, in recognition of significant contributions to improving the welfare of animals used in research, teaching and testing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB. 2012.
- MD with Special Training in Research Committee (MD-STIR). Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry; Dr. M. Glerum, Chair (2000–2002).
- Health Sciences “Animal Welfare and Policy Committee” and then “Animal Care and Use Committee” (ACUC-HS); Drs. L. Kline, then K. Fouad, then N. Jahroudi, Chairs (2002–2012).
- Panel organizing the “Ethics and Scientific Integrity (ESI) Days” of the Faculties of Medicine and Dentistry and Graduate Studies and Research (several times - as required - from 2004–2016).
- Communications Committee, Department of Biochemistry (2004–2009).
- Recruitment Committee, Department of Biochemistry (2004–2010).
- Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Graduate Scholarship Committee, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR); Dr. M. Shirvani, Dean (2008–2012).
- Research Advisory Committee, Department of Biochemistry (2010).