The Routh Lab - Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UTMB, Galveston Molecular Biology and Evolution of Viruses

Routh, Andrew

Andrew Routh, Ph.D.     Assistant Professor

Summary of Research Interests/Projects:

We combine molecular and cellular virology, next-generation sequencing and computational biology to study model RNA viruses such as Flock House virus, as well as human pathogens including chikungunya virus, zika virus, coronaviruses and HIV. Together, these provide clinically relevant and experimentally tractable model systems for the exploration of the principles of RNA virus evolution and how they have adapted and evolved to manipulate their hosts. I have a strong interest in technology and methods development of molecular applications in next-generation and single-cell sequencing and downstream computational pipelines. In 2018, together with Dr. Elizabeth Jaworski, we founded a start-up company called “ClickSeq Technologies” that provides NGS services using the 'ClickSeq' approach for RNAseq library synthesis. 


I obtained my under-graduate Bachelors’ and Masters’ degrees in Cellular and Molecular Biochemistry from the University of Oxford, UK. I subsequently moved to the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology (MRC-LMB) Cambridge, UK, obtaining my PhD under the supervision of Dr. Daniela Rhodes. Here, I studied the impact and roles of linker histones, nucleosome repeat length and histone post-transcriptional modifications upon the compaction and structure of the ‘30nm’ chromatin fibre. I then moved to The Scripps Research Institute to perform post-doctoral research in RNA virus replication, recombination and virion assembly and disassembly under the mentorship of Prof. Jack Johnson and later Prof. Bruce Torbett. I took up my current position as Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston in the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology on the 1st November, 2015. 


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ORCID ID: 0000-0002-2874-5990



CV (April 2020)


Rose Langsjoen, Ph.D.   Post-Doctoral Researcher

Summary of Research Interests/Projects:
My primary interests are in translational science and virology, which essentially amounts to the prevention, diagnosis, clinical characterization, and treatment of viral diseases. Currently, I am investigating novel methods of attenuation for various virus families, including alphaviruses, flaviviruses, and picornaviruses, as well as the role of poly-A tail length in viral replication.

I graduated cum laude with my Bachelor of Arts in 2010 from Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, MN where I majored in biology and honored with a minor in religion. I took a brief hiatus to fill out my coursework at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities while tutoring at Huntington Learning Center before matriculating into the then-newly formed Human Pathophysiology and Translational Medicine program at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX in summer 2011. My graduate work, under the supervision of Dr. Scott Weaver, focused on the translational aspects of chikungunya virus infection, including epidemiology study of an outbreak in the Caribbean, the pathogenesis of CHIKV infection in animal models, and the development of the host chaperone protein disulfide isomerase and its regulators as potential antiviral drug targets.  After receiving my PhD in the fall of 2016, Andrew hired me as a postdoctoral scientist to carry out his work regarding virus/host recoding.

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ORCID ID: 0000-0001-9008-425


Website pic_RML

Yiyang (Tommy) Zhou, Ph.D.     Post-Doctoral Researcher

Summary of Research Interests/Projects:
Current Research Topic: RNAseq-related studies on virus assembly and virus packaging mechanism. 
Research Interests: Virology; Viral vaccines; Molecular and plant biotechnologies

2016-present: Postdoctoral Fellow. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Texas Medical Branch. Galveston, Texas, USA.
2010-2016: Ph.D. in Biomedical Studies. Institute of Biomedical Studies, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA. (Dissertation: Plant-produced trans-encapsidated replicative viral nanoparticle as a vaccine platform.)
2006-2010: B.S. in Forestry. College of Forest Resources and Environment, Nanjing Forestry University, China. (Thesis: Research on genetic diversity of Cyclocarya paliurus using molecular markers.)


Elizabeth Jaworski Ph.D.  Staff Scientist

Summary of Research Interests:

I have established a foundation using NGS strategies (Illumina and MinION) to study RNA recombination in model RNA viruses and clinically relevant RNA viruses such as rhinoviruses and Coxsackievirus. My broad goal is to establish whether observed patterns of RNA recombination can inform us on the exact molecular mechanisms of RNA recombination, and how this drives virus evolution in the lab settings. I am beginning to look at the role of both viral and host factors in determining the frequency and/or loci of RNA recombination. The ultimate purpose of my research is to use this knowledge to characterize the drivers of RNA virus evolution both broadly in nature, and more locally for example within a single patient over the course of an acute or chronic infection


I graduated from the University of Florida in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science where I majored in Bio-technology and minored in Entomology. There I did research under Dr. Thomas Colquhoun in the Environmental Horticulture Department. Our main goals were to elucidate and manipulate the plant volatile compound biosynthesis pathways in order to enhance olfactory experiences. 





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ORCID: 0000-0002-4886-0451


Stephanea L. Sotcheff     Graduate Student

Summary of Research Interests/Projects:
Stephanea is interested in nucleic acid secondary and tertiary structure as well as viral evolution.  She currently focuses on studying viral RNA structure using small molecule cross-linkers.  

Stephanea graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2013 with Bachelor of Science degrees in Chemistry and Biochemistry.  From there, she worked in technical support at a local software company for just under four years.  During the last years working in tech she worked towards a third bachelors in Cell and Molecular Biology (2017).  At that time, she also worked in the Rose Lab at UT Austin as an undergraduate research assistant doing organic synthesis and inorganic chemistry, recreating the active site of mono-iron dehydrogenase.








Collaborators and Friends

Mariano Garcia-Blanco and Shelton Bradrick


Lab Website

Joint pubs:

A Screen of FDA-Approved Drugs for Inhibitors of Zika Virus Infection

HIV Interactions in Viral Evolution Center (HIVE)


The Scripps Research Institute, USA

HIVE Website