Research within the Bosch group is focused on coronaviruses. Coronaviruses are important pathogens relevant for veterinary and human health. Moreover they have demonstrated their potential to cross the species border illustrated by the recent emergence of the zoonotic SARS and MERS coronaviruses. Studying these coronaviruses at the molecular level helps to understand various aspects of coronavirus biology, including their evolution, epidemiology, pathogenesis and (cross-species) transmission as well as for the development of novel intervention strategies. We are particularly interested in coronavirus entry into the host cell and the role of the Spike protein therein. Spike glycoproteins on coronaviruses mediate binding of the virus to receptor molecules on the host cell surface, as well as subsequent cell-entry. In addition, the coronavirus Spike protein is the main target for humoral immune responses, and as such a key viral protein for development of intervention strategies.
Some of the research lines within the Bosch group funded by NWO (TOP-ZonMW), IMI (ZAPI program) and industry (MSD-AnimalHealth):
Coronavirus interaction with the host cell
Structure-function studies of coronavirus spike proteins
Determinants of coronavirus inter-species transmissibility
Development of intervention strategies (antibodies, vaccines) for (emerging) coronaviruses
Our research is done in collaborations with (inter)national experts in the fields of structural biology, advanced electron microscopy and virus pathogenesis.