Figure 1: Integrative modelling of infection cycles.

Figure 1: Integrative modelling of infection cycles.

Figure 2: The structure of the nuclear pore complex obtained by integrative modelling (Kosinski et al., Science, 2016).

Figure 2: The structure of the nuclear pore complex obtained by integrative modelling (Kosinski et al., Science, 2016).

The Kosinski group investigates infection cycles and host-pathogen interactions using computational and experimental approaches.

Previous and current research

During infection, pathogens undergo complex life cycles, interact with molecular systems of their hosts, and disturb and hijack host molecular machines for their own purposes. In our lab, we aim at creating comprehensive multi-scale models of entire infection cycles to discover host-pathogen interactions and identify which of them are the most crucial for infection. To this end, we integrate systems biology data with structural information using novel systems biology and structural modelling methods. We then characterise the most promising interactions using bioinformatics and wet-lab experiments.

Recently, we have made significant contributions to developing and applying methods for integrative structural modelling. For example, we applied our methods to build a near-atomic model of one of the largest complexes in the cell – the human nuclear pore complex – based on data from electron tomography and cross-linking mass spectrometry. We will now apply the experience and methods of modelling molecular structures to modelling entire molecular processes and systems.

Our group will be located in a brand-new infection biology institute, the Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB), just next to EMBL Hamburg on the DESY campus. Our research is highly collaborative and will involve common projects with other EMBL and CSSB groups, CSSB partners, and external groups. We are just starting to build our research group and aim at assembling an interdisciplinary team of scientists who combine bioinformatics with wet-lab experimentation.

Future Projects and Goals

  • Development and application of methods for integrative modelling of infection cycles
  • Mechanisms of subversion of the nuclear pore complex by pathogens
  • Identification and characterisation of host-pathogen interactions most promising for therapeutic intervention
  • Integrative structural modelling of macromolecular complexes