Universiteit Leiden

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Alexander Gorbalenya

Professor emeritus Applied bioinformatics in virology

Name
Prof.dr. A.E. Gorbalenya
Telephone
+31 71 526 3931
E-mail
a.e.gorbalenya@lumc.nl

Alexander E. Gorbalenya is Professor of Medical Microbiology, in particular virus bioinformatics and Head of Virus Evolution and Bioinformatics lab in the Research Section. He is also visiting Professor at the Faculty of Bioengineering & Bioinformatics, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia. He held Leiden University Fund Chair in Applied Bioinformatics in Virology (2009-2017) and was Vice-President of the International Committee on the Virus Taxonomy (2011-2017).

More information about Alexander Gorbalenya

Alexander E. Gorbalenya is Professor of Medical Microbiology, in particular virus bioinformatics and Head of Virus Evolution and Bioinformatics lab in the Research Section. He is also visiting Professor at the Faculty of Bioengineering & Bioinformatics, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia. He held Leiden University Fund Chair in Applied Bioinformatics in Virology (2009-2017) and was Vice-President of the International Committee on the Virus Taxonomy (2011-2017).

Infections

Humans suffer from different diseases caused by viruses that range from common cold to fatal. However, virus infection may also do no harm or be even beneficial to host. Some pathogenic viruses circulating in the human population are host-restricted, while others emerge(d) from benign viruses infecting humans or other animals (emerging infections). The ability to evolve very fast is the key to both the pathogenicity and the remarkable adaptability of viruses to different hosts. The enormous natural diversity of viruses, which researchers only start to describe, is the biggest challenge in our quest for understanding the Virosphere and to control virus infections. 

Gorbalenya pursues these goals by applying bioinformatics to genomic sequences which is the most reliable, comprehensive, and up-to-the-date source of information about viruses. These studies benefit from steady advancements in computing as well as the exponential accumulation of virus genome sequences. We develop and employ genomics-based computational approaches to differentiate viruses, and to gain insight into their function, structure, and evolution. Results of these analyses guide experimental studies and facilitate development of virus diagnostics and antivirals. 

Academic career

A.E. (Alexander/Sasha) Gorbalenya (1952), PhD, DSci received training in genetics at Novosibirsk State University, Russia, (M.Sc, 1974) and virus biochemistry at the Institute of Poliomyelitis, Moscow and Institute of Molecular Biology, Koltsovo, (Ph.D, 1984), and was awarded D.Sci degree in molecular biology from Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia (1991). He was lead research scientist at the Institute of Poliomyelitis before moving to the National Cancer Institute, Frederick, USA, as visiting scientist in 1998. Alexander Gorbalenya joined Leiden University Medical Center (2001), as tenured associate professor and group leader at the Department of Medical Microbiology, where he was extraordinary professor (2009-2017) and continue serving as part-time professor. He leads Collaborative Program in Bioinformatics between LUMC and Moscow State University (Moscow-Bioinformatics-Leiden, MoBiLe Program).

While conducting PhD project, Gorbalenya started using nascent comparative sequence analysis to study the structure, function and evolution of viruses, which became his calling in virology. He pursues analysis of the natural variation of virus genomes to advance understanding biology of virus-host interactions and its applications to managing virus infections. These studies have been supported by various national and EU grants. Its results have been published in more than 200 papers and book chapters. 
His inauguration lecture (In English) on June 20, 2011 was entitled “Could we live in peace with viruses?”.

Prizes and honourable appointments

Gorbalenya is Editor of Virology (on Virus Evolution) since 2013, and serves on the Editorial Boards of J. of Virology and Virus Research. He was Guest Editor of Proc.Natl.Acad.Sci. USA and PLoS Pathogens, and Editorial Board Member of J. of General Virology. He served on the Advisory Panel for the Virus Genomes Database of NCBI (USA), the Advisory Board for the XVth and XVIth International Congresses of Virology (2011 and 2014), and several other international committees and boards concerned with viruses and bioinformatics. He was an ad-hoc reviewer for dozens of international journals as well as for grant agencies in the Netherlands, EU, France, Israel, UK and Russia. From 2005 till 2011 he served as an Elected Member of the Executive Committee and from 2011 to 2017 as Vice-President of the International Committee for Taxonomy of Viruses.

Professor emeritus Applied bioinformatics in virology

  • Faculteit Geneeskunde
  • Divisie 4
  • Medische Microbiologie

Work address

LUMC Main Building
Albinusdreef 2
2333 ZA Leiden

Contact

Publications

  • European Virus Bioinformatics Center Founding Member
  • Faculty of Bioengineering & Bioinformatics, Lomonosov Moscow State University Professor, Head of Moscow-Bioinformatics-Leiden (MoBiLe) Group
  • International Committee of Taxonomy of Viruses Virology Division International Union Microbiologica Member of the Executive Committee; Vice-President
  • International Journal 'Journal of Virology' published by the American Society of Microbiology Member of the Editorial Board
  • International Journal 'PLoS Pathogens' published by the Public Libary of Science Guest Editor
  • International Journal 'Virology'published by Elsevier Member of the Editorial Board; Editor
  • International Journal 'Virus Research' Published by Elsevier Member of the Editorial Board
  • International Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA Guest Editor
  • Leiden University Fund Extraordinary Professor of Applied Bioinformatics in Virology
  • Netherlands Bioinformatics Biology School Member
  • Symposium on Picornaviruses member
  • the American Society for Microbiology Member
  • the American Society of Virology Member
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