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Susan Hafenstein, PhD

Susan Hafenstein, PhD

Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Professor, Department of Medicine
Division of Infectious Diseases
Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics
Cancer Institute, Mechanisms of Carcinogenesis
Scientific Program:Next-Generation Therapies

Research Interests

Dr. Susan Hafenstein's research focuses on understanding the structure and functions of viruses, specifically host-virus interactions that facilitate viral entry into cells. She is an expert in cryoEM, utilizing local reconstruction approaches to solve atomic resolution maps of viruses like HPV, murine papillomavirus, polyomavirus and Zika virus.

  • Capsid
  • Viruses
  • Enterovirus
  • Genome
  • Parvovirus
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Canine Parvovirus
  • Virion
  • Proteins
  • Mutation
  • Antibodies
  • Capsid Proteins

Recent Publications


Ye, J, Yeh, YT, Xue, Y, Wang, Z, Zhang, N, Liu, H, Zhang, K, Ricker, RA, Yu, Z, Roder, A, Lopez, NP, Organtini, L, Greene, W, Hafenstein, S, Lu, H, Ghedin, E, Terrones, M, Huang, S & Huang, SX 2022, 'Accurate virus identification with interpretable Raman signatures by machine learning', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 119, no. 23, e2118836119.
Pujhari, S, Brustolin, M, Heu, CC, Smithwick, R, Larrosa, M, Hafenstein, S & Rasgon, JL 2022, 'Characterization of Mayaro virus (strain BeAn343102) biology in vertebrate and invertebrate cellular backgrounds', Journal of General Virology, vol. 103, no. 10.
Lee, H, Baxter, AJ, Bator, CM, Fane, BA & Hafenstein, SL 2022, 'Cryo-EM Structure of Gokushovirus UEC6098 Reveals a Novel Capsid Architecture for a Single-Scaffolding Protein, Microvirus Assembly System', Journal of virology, vol. 96, no. 21.


Chen, YC, Dinavahi, SS, Feng, Q, Gowda, R, Ramisetti, S, Xia, X, LaPenna, KB, Chirasani, VR, Cho, SH, Hafenstein, SL, Battu, MB, Berg, A, Sharma, AK, Kirchhausen, T, Dokholyan, NV, Amin, S, He, P & Robertson, GP 2021, 'Activating Sphingosine-1-phospahte signaling in endothelial cells increases myosin light chain phosphorylation to decrease endothelial permeability thereby inhibiting cancer metastasis', Cancer Letters, vol. 506, pp. 107-119.
Hartmann, SR, Goetschius, DJ, Hu, J, Graff, JJ, Bator, CM, Christensen, ND & Hafenstein, SL 2021, 'Cryo em analysis reveals inherent flexibility of authentic murine papillomavirus capsids', Viruses, vol. 13, no. 10, 2023.
Goetschius, DJ, Hartmann, SR, Subramanian, S, Bator, CM, Christensen, ND & Hafenstein, SL 2021, 'High resolution cryo EM analysis of HPV16 identifies minor structural protein L2 and describes capsid flexibility', Scientific reports, vol. 11, no. 1, 3498.
Goetschius, DJ, Hartmann, SR, Organtini, LJ, Callaway, H, Huang, K, Bator, CM, Ashley, RE, Makhov, AM, Conway, JF, Parrish, CR & Hafenstein, SL 2021, 'High-resolution asymmetric structure of a Fab-virus complex reveals overlap with the receptor binding site', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 118, no. 23, e2025452118.


Lauver, MD, Goetschius, DJ, Netherby-Winslow, CS, Ayers, KN, Jin, G, Haas, DG, Frost, EL, Cho, SH, Bator, CM, Bywaters, SM, Christensen, ND, Hafenstein, SL & Lukacher, AE 2020, 'Antibody escape by polyomavirus capsid mutation facilitates neurovirulence', eLife, vol. 9, pp. 1-68.
Perederina, A, Li, D, Lee, H, Bator, C, Berezin, I, Hafenstein, SL & Krasilnikov, AS 2020, 'Cryo-EM structure of catalytic ribonucleoprotein complex RNase MRP', Nature communications, vol. 11, no. 1, 3474.
DiNunno, NM, Goetschius, DJ, Narayanan, A, Majowicz, SA, Moustafa, I, Bator, CM, Hafenstein, SL & Jose, J 2020, 'Identification of a pocket factor that is critical to Zika virus assembly', Nature communications, vol. 11, no. 1, 4953.
Voorhees, IEH, Lee, H, Allison, AB, Lopez-Astacio, R, Goodman, LB, Oyesola, OO, Omobowale, O, Fagbohun, O, Dubovi, EJ, Hafenstein, SL, Holmes, EC & Parrish, CR 2020, 'Limited intrahost diversity and background evolution accompany 40 years of canine parvovirus host adaptation and spread', Journal of virology, vol. 94, no. 1, e01162-19.
Parrish, CR, Voorhees, IEH & Hafenstein, SL 2020, Parvoviruses of Carnivores, and the Emergence of Canine Parvovirus (Parvoviridae). in Encyclopedia of Virology: Volume 1-5, Fourth Edition. vol. 1-5, Elsevier, pp. 683-687.
Martínez-Gualda, B, Sun, L, Martí-Marí, O, Noppen, S, Abdelnabi, R, Bator, CM, Quesada, E, Delang, L, Mirabelli, C, Lee, H, Schols, D, Neyts, J, Hafenstein, S, Camarasa, MJ, Gago, F & San-Félix, A 2020, 'Scaffold Simplification Strategy Leads to a Novel Generation of Dual Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Enterovirus-A71 Entry Inhibitors', Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, vol. 63, no. 1, pp. 349-368.


Goetschius, DJ, Parrish, CR & Hafenstein, S 2019, 'Asymmetry in icosahedral viruses', Current Opinion in Virology, vol. 36, pp. 67-73.
Goetschius, DJ, Lee, H & Hafenstein, S 2019, CryoEM reconstruction approaches to resolve asymmetric features. in FA Rey (ed.), Complementary Strategies to Understand Virus Structure and Function. Advances in Virus Research, vol. 105, Academic Press Inc., pp. 73-91.
Callaway, HM, Subramanian, S, Urbina, CA, Barnard, KN, Dick, RA, Bator, CM, Hafenstein, SL, Gifford, RJ & Parrish, CR 2019, 'Examination and reconstruction of three ancient endogenous parvovirus capsid protein gene remnants found in rodent genomes', Journal of virology, vol. 93, no. 6, e01542-18.
Subramanian, S, Maurer, AC, Bator, CM, Makhov, AM, Conway, JF, Turner, KB, Marden, JH, Vandenberghe, LH & Hafenstein, SL 2019, 'Filling Adeno-Associated Virus Capsids: Estimating Success by Cryo-Electron Microscopy', Human Gene Therapy, vol. 30, no. 12, pp. 1449-1460.
Caliaro, O, Marti, A, Ruprecht, N, Leisi, R, Subramanian, S, Hafenstein, S & Ros, C 2019, 'Parvovirus B19 uncoating occurs in the cytoplasm without capsid disassembly and it is facilitated by depletion of capsid-associated divalent cations', Viruses, vol. 11, no. 5, 430.
Lee, H, Callaway, HM, Cifuente, JO, Bator, CM, Parrish, CR & Hafenstein, SL 2019, 'Transferrin receptor binds virus capsid with dynamic motion', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 116, no. 41, pp. 20462-20471.
Sun, L, Lee, H, Thibaut, HJ, Lanko, K, Rivero-Buceta, E, Bator, C, Martinez-Gualda, B, Dallmeier, K, Delang, L, Leyssen, P, Gago, F, San-Felix, A, Hafenstein, S, Mirabelli, C & Neyts, J 2019, 'Viral engagement with host receptors blocked by a novel class of tryptophan dendrimers that targets the 5-fold-axis of the enterovirus - A 71 capsid', PLoS pathogens, vol. 15, no. 5, e1007760.