Jamie C Snyder

Jamie C Snyder

Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science

Research Interests in the Snyder Lab

I am interested in viruses that infect organisms living in extreme environments. I focus on viruses infecting archaeal hosts living in high temperature (70-90C) and low pH (pH 1-4) environments. In comparison to the knowledge we have about bacterial and eukaryotic viruses, we know very little about viruses infecting archaea. In my lab, we are working towards describing in detail the first complete archaeal virus replication cycle. We study two viruses that infect Sulfolobus, STIV1 and STIV3. These viruses are very similar to each other; however, they infect different species of Sulfolobus and have different lifestyles within the host. We have developed genetic systems for both viruses, so we can make mutations and determine the phenotypes of the mutant viruses. We are also working to determine what cellular proteins the virus utilizes during its infection of the host cell. We hope that by further elucidating the replication cycles of archaeal viruses, we will achieve a better understanding of all archaeal viruses (maybe even bacterial and eukaryal viruses) and perhaps establish links between viruses infecting all the domains of life.

The viruses that we discover from Archaea are unlike any other viruses on the planet. They have unique characteristics, but interestingly, also show similarity to viruses that infect Bacteria and Eukarya, and therefore, are appealing tools to study viral evolution. The students in my lab primarily conduct molecular and cell biology experiments. The techniques they become proficient in include DNA/RNA extraction and analysis, mutagenesis, bacterial and archaeal cell growth, protein extraction and analysis, and many other techniques that are commonly used in the molecular biology and biotechnology fields. I believe the students working in my lab have an exceptional opportunity: the ability to learn standard molecular biology techniques in a very unique model system.