Susan Hafenstein

Director of the Center for Structural Biology; Huck Chair of Structural Virology; Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Susan Hafenstein

Research Summary

Using a structural approach to learn more about viral infectivity, tropism, evolution and pathogenicity. Developing approaches to visualize critical events that cause a break from the regular symmetry of the virus, including packaging of the genome, receptor usage, antibody interactions and uncoating of the viral genome during the final stages of infection.

Huck Graduate Students

Huck Affiliations


Publication Tags

Viruses Enterovirus Capsid Genome Neutralizing Antibodies Cryoelectron Microscopy Antibodies Epitopes Proteins Mutation Cryo Electron Microscopy Lipids Capsid Proteins Dna Rna Picornaviridae Immunoglobulin Fragments Ribonucleoproteins Virion Ribonucleases Canine Parvovirus Receptors Single Stranded Dna Product Packaging Crystal Structure

Most Recent Papers

High resolution cryo EM analysis of HPV16 identifies minor structural protein L2 and describes capsid flexibility

Daniel J. Goetschius, Samantha R. Hartmann, Suriyasri Subramanian, Carol M. Bator, Neil D. Christensen, Susan L. Hafenstein, 2021, Scientific Reports

Activating Sphingosine-1-phospahte signaling in endothelial cells increases myosin light chain phosphorylation to decrease endothelial permeability thereby inhibiting cancer metastasis

Yu Chi Chen, Saketh S. Dinavahi, Qilong Feng, Raghavendra Gowda, Srinivasa Ramisetti, Xinghai Xia, Kyle B. LaPenna, Venkat R. Chirasani, Sung Hyun Cho, Susan L. Hafenstein, Madhu Babu Battu, Arthur Berg, Arun K. Sharma, Tom Kirchhausen, Nikolay V. Dokholyan, Shantu Amin, Pingnian He, Gavin P. Robertson, 2021, Cancer Letters on p. 107-119

Identification of a pocket factor that is critical to Zika virus assembly

Nadia M. DiNunno, Daniel J. Goetschius, Anoop Narayanan, Sydney A. Majowicz, Ibrahim Moustafa, Carol M. Bator, Susan L. Hafenstein, Joyce Jose, 2020, Nature Communications

Cryo-EM structure of catalytic ribonucleoprotein complex RNase MRP

Anna Perederina, Di Li, Hyunwook Lee, Carol Bator, Igor Berezin, Susan L. Hafenstein, Andrey S. Krasilnikov, 2020, Nature Communications

Antibody escape by polyomavirus capsid mutation facilitates neurovirulence

Matthew D. Lauver, Daniel J. Goetschius, Colleen S. Netherby-Winslow, Katelyn N. Ayers, Ge Jin, Daniel G. Haas, Elizabeth L. Frost, Sung Hyun Cho, Carol M. Bator, Stephanie M. Bywaters, Neil D. Christensen, Susan L. Hafenstein, Aron E. Lukacher, 2020, eLife on p. 1-68

Scaffold Simplification Strategy Leads to a Novel Generation of Dual Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Enterovirus-A71 Entry Inhibitors

Belén Martínez-Gualda, Liang Sun, Olaia Martí-Marí, Sam Noppen, Rana Abdelnabi, Carol M. Bator, Ernesto Quesada, Leen Delang, Carmen Mirabelli, Hyunwook Lee, Dominique Schols, Johan Neyts, Susan Hafenstein, María José Camarasa, Federico Gago, Ana San-Félix, 2020, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry on p. 349-368

Limited intrahost diversity and background evolution accompany 40 years of canine parvovirus host adaptation and spread

Ian E.H. Voorhees, Hyunwook Lee, Andrew B. Allison, Robert Lopez-Astacio, Laura B. Goodman, Oyebola O. Oyesola, Olutayo Omobowale, Olusegun Fagbohun, Edward J. Dubovi, Susan L. Hafenstein, Edward C. Holmes, Colin R. Parrish, 2020, Journal of Virology

Filling Adeno-Associated Virus Capsids: Estimating Success by Cryo-Electron Microscopy

Suriyasri Subramanian, Anna C. Maurer, Carol M. Bator, Alexander M. Makhov, James F. Conway, Kevin B. Turner, James H. Marden, Luk H. Vandenberghe, Susan L. Hafenstein, 2019, Human Gene Therapy on p. 1449-1460

Transferrin receptor binds virus capsid with dynamic motion

Hyunwook Lee, Heather M. Callaway, Javier O. Cifuente, Carol M. Bator, Colin R. Parrish, Susan L. Hafenstein, 2019, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America on p. 20462-20471

Asymmetry in icosahedral viruses

Daniel J. Goetschius, Colin R. Parrish, Susan Hafenstein, 2019, Current Opinion in Virology on p. 67-73

Most-Cited Papers

Secretion of genome-free hepatitis b virus - single strand blocking model for virion morphogenesis of para-retrovirus

Xiaojun Ning, David Nguyen, Laura Mentzer, Christina Adams, Hyunwook Lee, Robert Ashley, Susan Hafenstein, Jianming Hu, 2011, PLoS Pathogens

The Enterovirus 71 A-particle Forms a Gateway to Allow Genome Release

Kristin L. Shingler, Jennifer L. Yoder, Michael S. Carnegie, Robert E. Ashley, Alexander M. Makhov, James F. Conway, Susan Hafenstein, 2013, PLoS Pathogens

Enterovirus 71 Binding to PSGL-1 on Leukocytes: VP1-145 Acts as a Molecular Switch to Control Receptor Interaction

Yorihiro Nishimura, Hyunwook Lee, Susan Hafenstein, Chikako Kataoka, Takaji Wakita, Jeffrey Bergelson, Hiroyuki Shimizu, 2013, PLoS Pathogens on p. e1003511

Group Selection and Contribution of Minority Variants during Virus Adaptation Determines Virus Fitness and Phenotype

Antonio V. Bordería, Ofer Isakov, Gonzalo Moratorio, Rasmus Henningsson, Sonia Agüera-González, Lindsey Organtini, Nina F. Gnädig, Hervé Blanc, Andrés Alcover, Susan Hafenstein, Magnus Fontes, Noam Shomron, Marco Vignuzzi, 2015, PLoS Pathogens

A cryo-electron microscopy study identifies the complete H16.V5 epitope and reveals global conformational changes initiated by binding of the neutralizing antibody fragment

Hyunwook Lee, Sarah A. Brendle, Stephanie M. Bywaters, Jian Guan, Robert E. Ashley, Joshua D. Yoder, Alexander M. Makhov, James F. Conway, Neil Christensen, Susan Hafenstein, 2015, Journal of Virology on p. 1428-1438

A strain-specific epitope of enterovirus 71 identified by cryo-electron microscopy of the complex with fab from neutralizing antibody

Hyunwook Lee, Javier O. Cifuente, Robert E. Ashley, James F. Conway, Alexander M. Makhov, Yoshio Tano, Hiroyuki Shimizu, Yorihiro Nishimura, Susan Hafenstein, 2013, Journal of Virology on p. 11363-11370

Structural comparison of four different antibodies interacting with human papillomavirus 16 and mechanisms of neutralization

Jian Guan, Stephanie M. Bywaters, Sarah A. Brendle, Hyunwook Lee, Robert E. Ashley, Alexander M. Makhov, James F. Conway, Neil Christensen, Susan Hafenstein, 2015, Virology on p. 253-263

The crystal structure of a coxsackievirus B3-RD variant and a refined 9-angstrom cryo-electron microscopy reconstruction of the virus complexed with decay-accelerating factor (DAF) provide a new footprint of DAF on the virus surface

Joshua D. Yoder, Javier O. Cifuente, Jieyan Pan, Jeffrey M. Bergelson, Susan Hafenstein, 2012, Journal of Virology on p. 12571-12581

Kinetic and structural analysis of coxsackievirus B3 receptor interactions and formation of the A-particle

Lindsey J. Organtini, Alexander M. Makhov, James F. Conway, Susan Hafenstein, Steven D. Carsonc, 2014, Journal of Virology on p. 5755-5765

Structure of a packaging-defective mutant of minute virus of mice indicates that the genome is packaged via a pore at a 5-fold axis

Pavel Plevka, Susan Hafenstein, Lei Li, Anthony D'Abramo, Susan F. Cotmore, Michael G. Rossmann, Peter Tattersall, 2011, Journal of Virology on p. 4822-4827

News Articles Featuring Susan Hafenstein

Altered 'coat' disguises fatal brain virus from neutralizing antibodies

A genetic modification in the ‘coat’ of a brain infection-causing virus may allow it to escape antibodies, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Scientists pinpoint how the deadly canine parvovirus learned to infect dogs in the 1970s

Canine parvovirus, a highly contagious and deadly virus of dogs, initially infected cats and other animals long before it acquired a few mutations and started a worldwide epidemic in the late 1970s. Now, a team led by the Baker Institute’s Dr. Colin Parrishhave worked with Dr. Susan Hafenstein’s laboratory at Penn State University to show exactly how parvovirus enters canine cells, and it’s a surprisingly wobbly interaction.

Virus may jump species through 'rock-and-roll' motion with receptors

Like a janitor thumbing through a keychain to find just the right key to open a lock, the "rock-and-roll" motion of the canine parvovirus during the binding process may help explain how the virus can find the spot on a receptor to infect not just dogs, but multiple species, according to an international team of researchers.

Resolution Revolution: Penn State welcomes a new era of atomic-level imaging with cryo EM facility

Using extreme cold to arrest fluid samples in motion, cryo EM allows researchers to see proteins, clusters of molecules, and viruses with astounding clarity—to the point where individual atoms may become visible.

Scientists discover weakness in common cold virus

An indentation on the surface of the viruses that cause a multitude of illnesses, including the common cold, has been discovered. Scientists believe this vulnerability marks a weak spot on the viruses that antiviral medications could target to administer effective treatment for colds and polio, among other illnesses

A tiny crater on viruses behind the common cold may be their Achilles’ heel

A newly discovered indentation on the surface of viruses that cause many illnesses, including the common cold, could be their Achilles’ heel — and a possible target for effective drugs.