James Flanegan, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Research: Replication of RNA Viruses
Ph.D. from University of Michigan, 1975
Professor and Chair Bert Flanegan earned his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry at the University of Michigan in 1975. He joined Dr. David Baltimore’s lab at MIT as an NIH postdoctoral fellow, where he began his research on RNA virus replication. He joined the faculty at the University of Florida in 1978 and rose to the rank of Professor in 1987. He was a Visiting Professor in Dr. Thomas Cech’s lab at the University of Colorado from 1987-88. In 1998, he was named Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Dr. Flanegan served as a member of the NIH Virology Study Section, the Editorial Boards of Virology and Journal of Virology and as the President of the UF College of Medicine Faculty Council. He has received the Sigma Xi Faculty Research Award, UF Research Achievement Award, College of Medicine Faculty Research Prize in Basic Science, UF Research Foundation Professorship and Professorial Excellence Program Award.
RNA viruses cause a wide variety of diseases including poliomyelitis, encephalitis, meningitis, gastroenteritis, hepatitis, myocarditis and respiratory infections. The objective of our research is the characterization of the mechanisms that regulate picornavirus replication. We use both cell-culture and cell-free systems to investigate both poliovirus and coxsackievirus RNA translation, replication and virus assembly. The synthesis of viral RNA and virus in these reactions provides us with efficient systems for biochemical and genetic studies. We are investigating how specific viral and cellular proteins interact with each other and with cis-active sequences in the viral genome to regulate each step in the replication cycle. Overall, these studies will advance the develop-ment of new antiviral therapies and vaccines and will provide new insights into the mechanisms regulating picornavirus RNA replication.