Dr Kamel El Omari
Dr El Omari’s two main research interests are:
Structural biology of viral membrane fusion
The aim of my research is to shed light on proteins interactions occurring between viruses and their host cells. Viruses use host cell resources to carry through their life cycle, but infection triggers host cell antiviral defense mechanisms that in turn drive viral adaptation. Thus it is crucial to understand not only the biology of the virus but also the biology of the host and the different cell pathways hijacked by the virus. This project will initially focus on unravelling the mechanism of viral membrane fusion.
Single-wavelength anomalous dispersion of S atoms (S-SAD) is an elegant phasing method to determine crystal structures that does not require heavy-atom incorporation or selenomethionine derivatization. Nevertheless, this technique has been limited by the paucity of the signal at the usual X-ray wavelengths, requiring very accurate measurement of the anomalous differences. The I23 beam line at the Diamond light source has been designed to provide an optimized environment for difficult S-SAD experiments, by increasing the anomalous signal with minimal noise.