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Department of Biochemistry

Alex Borodavka’s lab team

Alex Borodavka is one of 26 scientists from across Europe, India, Singapore, Taiwan and Chile, selected to join the prestigious EMBO Young Investigator Programme. The initiative supports excellent young group leaders in the early stages of their independent careers, offering opportunities to build international networks and explore different ways of doing science.

The award was made for Dr Borodavka’s innovative project ‘Unlocking RNA secrets: How viruses build their segmented RNA genomes’. The project delves into the intricate mechanisms of rotavirus genome assembly, a virus responsible for over 200,000 child deaths annually. By exploring the unique way in which these viruses package their eleven-segmented RNA genomes — a process crucial for viral replication and the creation of new variants, the research offers new insights into virus assembly and evolution. The team uses advanced ultra-sensitive techniques and RNA-based biochemical assays to decode the dynamic structures and signals that dictate RNA segment selection and the formation of viral replication factories. 

Dr Borodavka said:
‘This endeavour is not just about tackling a global health issue; it's about pushing the boundaries of our understanding of RNA biology, biomolecular condensates, and a long-standing question in virology. The findings from this research could pave the way for new viral therapeutics and contribute significantly to our knowledge of viral evolution, potentially impacting our approach to a range of segmented genome viruses beyond rotaviruses, including influenza viruses.’


Alex Borodavka’s lab team (from left to right): 

Back: Ksenia Fominykh, Emilia Arguello, Max Walk, Alex Borodavka;

Middle: Julia Acker & Xinyu Wang;

Front: Cyril Haller & Daniel Desirò.

Publication date

5 December 2023