Wilen Lab



The Wilen lab is located at the Yale School of Medicine in the Departments of Laboratory Medicine and Immunobiology. We are interested in how viruses, particularly coronaviruses and norovirus, interact with and evade the immune system. We use a variety of mouse and human models to identify the molecular mechanisms of viral pathogenesis with our long term goal being to leverage these basic science discoveries to develop affordable and effective vaccines for human norovirus and SARS-CoV-2. Human norovirus is the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis globally. However, our understanding about how human norovirus infects cells, evades the immune system, and causes disease is limited which has hampered vaccine development. In a recent genome-wide CRISPR screen, we discovered CD300lf as the receptor for murine norovirus, the first receptor identified for a norovirus of any species. We then leveraged this finding to identify a rare epithelial cell called tuft cells as the target cell for murine norovirus in the intestines.