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Microbiology Logo Microbiology & Immunology
Te Tari Moromoroiti me te Ārai Mate

Associate Professor Mihnea Bostina

Research interests:

Structural biology, viral pathogenesis and molecular virology

Current research:

Our research interests are in understanding molecular architectures and relating those structures to their functional mechanisms. To do this, we are employing cryo-electron microscopy and electron tomography combined with image analysis techniques.

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Bostina Lab 2022


Lab group

LauraBurga3    SaiVelamoor2  AliceEruera3
Dr Laura Burga  
Sailakshmi Velamoor

 Alice Eruera

 Research Fellow    Postdoctoral fellow   Postdoctoral fellow

Postgraduate students

PlaceholderFemale18    Francesca Hills  
 James Hodgkinson-Bean  Georgia Rutter Francesca Hills  
 PhD Student  PhD student    PhD student  


PlaceholderFemale18  PlaceholderFemale18
 Nick Jadav   Léna Cassin  Rosheny Kumaran  
 MSc Student  MSc Student   PhD student  
 PlaceholderFemale18  PlaceholderFemale18
An Pham Daniel Huang

Fangfang Chang


 PhD student



 Alex Crowe      
 Summer student      

Research projects

Seneca Valley Virus

 Seneca Valley Virus (SVV) is a novel oncolytic RNA virus belonging to the Picornaviridae family. SVV has an exclusive tropism for cancer cells and has shown promising results in several clinical trials. Recently, the anthrax toxin receptor, ANTXR1, has been identified as the high-affinity cellular receptor for SVV in multiple cell types. Interestingly, this is the first example of a common shared receptor between a mammalian virus and a bacterial toxin. Our study of SVV follows several directions: i) the structural biology of SVV interaction with receptor and host antibodies; ii) the cellular remodeling induced by SVV infection, and iii) developing SVV for treatment of breast cancer.

svv r



This project aims to describe the structures of several bacteriophages active against P. syringae pv. actinidiae, a re-emerging pathogen, which causes bacterial canker of kiwifruit (Actinidia sp.). The economic impact, and the development of resistance against antibiotics and copper sprays, has led to a search for alternative management strategies, such as devising bacteriophage cocktails active against this agricultural pathogen. (Collaboration with Peter Fineran)

bostina 01



Iridoviruses are large double-stranded DNA viruses infecting a range of insects.  They have an internal lipid membrane encapsidated into a fiber-covered icosahedral capsid. In special circumstances, the capsids self-assemble into crystal colloidal arrays refracting light in a limited wavelength domain. Understanding the architecture of the capsid in detail can be instrumental in controlling the formation of assembled arrays with desired optical properties important for photonic and material applications. The goal of this project is to obtain a high resolution structure of capsid and understand the role  played by capsid fibers in regulating the array formation. (Collaboration with Vernon Ward)

bostina 02


Oryctes nudivirus

A natural pathogen to the rhinoceros beetle, a very important pest of coconut and oil palms throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. The virus has been successfully used to control this pest and could become a sustainable and environmental-friendly tool to battle it if it is effectively produced, formulated, and applied in the field.


For details about Diploma, MSc or PhD projects, please contact me at

Lab alumni

Shakeel Waqqar (2017-2022) • Isa de Vries (2022) •  En Watanabe (2020-2022) •  Daniel Huang (2021) •  An Pham (2021) •  Harry McFarlane (2020) •  Milly Oldfield (2020) •  Nadishka Jayawardena (2016-2020) •  Sean Mackay (2019) •  Kai Lee (2018-2019) • Cormac McCarthy (2016-2019) •  Guillaume Ems (2019) •  Alice Dunn (2016-2018) •  WonMo Kim (2018) •  Ana Rivera (2018) • Sally Kim (2014-2018) •  Brian Tong (2015-2017) •  William Szabo (2016) •  Ryan Murphy-Dawes (2015) •  Chelsea Harris (2015) •  Mike Strauss (2014) •  Mariya Yevstigneyeva (2014) •  Danni Chen (2014)





Recent publications

  • Waqqar S, K Lee, B Lawley, T Bilton, ME Quinones-Mateu, M Bostina*, LN Burga*. 2023. Directed Evolution of Seneca Valley Virus in Tumorsphere and Monolayer Cell Cultures of a Small-Cell Lung Cancer Model. Cancers 15(9), 2541
  • Wierenga JR, Morgan KJ, Hunter S, Taylor HS, Argilla LS, Webster T, Dubrulle J, Jorge F, Bostina M, Burga L, Holmes EC, McInnes K, Geoghegan JL. 2023. A novel gyrovirus is abundant in yellow-eyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) chicks with a fatal respiratory disease. Virology, 579: 75–83
  • Peng Y, Liu Y, Hu Y, Chang F, Wu Q, Yang J, Chen J, Teng S, Zhang J, He R, Wei Y, Bostina M, Luo T, Liu W, Qu X, Li Y-P. 2022. Monoclonal antibodies constructed from COVID-19 convalescent memory B cells exhibit potent binding activity to MERS-CoV spike S2 subunit and other human coronaviruses. Frontiers in Immunology 13.
  • Jayawardena N, McCarthy C, Wang I, Waqqar S, Burga LN, Strauss M*, Bostina M*. 2022. Characterisation of a Seneca Valley virus thermostable mutant. Virology. 575:74-82.
  • Warring, SL, LM Malone, J Jayaraman, RA Easingwood, L Rigano, RA Frampton, SB Visnovsky, SM Addison, L Hernandez, AR Pitman, E Lopez Acedo, T Kleffmann, MD Templeton, M Bostina, PC Fineran. 2022. A lipopolysaccharide-dependent phage infects a pseudomonad phytopathogen and can evolve to evade phage resistance. Environ Microbiol.
  • Wang Y, SK Gupta, G Ems, N Jayawardena, M Strauss*, M Bostina*. 2022. Cryo-EM structure of a possum enterovirus. Viruses.14(2), 318.
  • Harfoot R, B Lawley, LC Hernández, J Kuang, J Grant , JM Treece, S Lequeux, R Day, S Jack, JAL. Stanton, M Bostina, JE Ussher, ME. Quiñones-Mateu. 2022. Characterization of the First SARS-CoV-2 Isolates from Aotearoa New Zealand as Part of a Rapid Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Viruses.14(2), 366.
  • Jayawardena N, Miles LA, Burga LN, Rudin C, Wolf M, Poirier JT, Bostina M. 2021. N-Linked Glycosylation on Anthrax Toxin Receptor 1 Is Essential for Seneca Valley Virus Infection. Viruses, 13(5):769.
  • Velamoor S, A Mitchell, M Bostina, D Harland. 2021. Processing hair follicles for transmission electron microscopy. Exp Dermatol. 31: 110-121.
  • Burga, LN and M Bostina. 2021. Oncolytic Viruses. Chapter in Encyclopedia of Virology, 4th edition. 658-671. Elsevier. Editors in Chief: D, Bamford and M. Zuckerman
  • Velamoor, S, S Lequeux, RA Easingwood, A Mitchell, J Plowman, M Bostina, DP Harland. 2021. A Correlative Fluorescent and Electron Microscopic Technique for Ultralocalization of Trichocyte Keratins. Chapter in Applications of Microscopy in Materials and Life Sciences, vol 11. 243-250. Springer, Singapore.
  • Humbel, B M, S Velamoor, A Mitchell, and M Bostina. 2021. Volume Microscopy of Nudivirus Infected Cells. Chapter in Applications of Microscopy in Materials and Life Sciences, vol 11. 251-259. Springer, Singapore.
  • Velamoor S, A Mitchell, BM Humbel, W Kim, C Pushparajan, G Visnovksy, LN Burga, M Bostina*2020. Visualizing Nudivirus Assembly and Egress. mBio, 11 (4):e-1333-20.
  • Jayawardena N, JT Poirier, LN Burga*, M Bostina*2020. Virus-receptor interactions and virus neutralization: insights for oncolytic virus development. Oncolytic Virotherapy. 9:1-15.
  • Velamoor S, M Richena, A Mitchell, S Lequeux, M Bostina, D Harland. 2020. High-pressure freezing followed by freeze substitution of a complex and variable density miniorgan: the wool follicle. J Microsc. 278(1):18-28. 
  • Jayawardena N, LN Burga, JT Poirier, M Bostina. 2019. Virus–Receptor Interactions: Structural Insights For Oncolytic Virus Development. OncolyticVirotherapy Volume 8:39-56.
  • Kim SH, A Mercer, A Mitchell,  JR de Miranda, V Ward, F Mondet, M Bostina. 2019. Viral infections alter antennal epithelium ultrastructure in honey bees. J Invertebr Pathol 168:107252.
  • McCarthy C, N Jayawardena, LN Burga*, M Bostina*2019. Developing Picornaviruses for Cancer Therapy. Cancers (Basel). 11(5). pii: E685.
  • Bostina, M. 2019. Monoclonal antibodies point to Achilles’ heel in picornavirus capsid. PLOS Biology. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3000232
  • Harland, DP, V Novotna, M Richena, S Velamoor, M Bostina, AJ McKinnon. 2019. Helical twist direction in the macrofibrils of keratin fibres is left handed. J Struct Biol.
  • Watson, BNJ, RA Easingwood, B. Tong, M. Wolf, GPC Salmond, RHJ Staals, M Bostina*, PC Fineran*2019. Different genetic and morphological outcomes for phages targeted by single or multiple CRISPR-Cas spacers. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B. 374(1772):20180090 
  • Jayawardena, N, LN Burga, RA Easingwood, Y Takizawa, M Wolf*, M Bostina*. 2018. Structural basis for Anthrax Toxin Receptor 1 recognition by Seneca Valley Virus. PNAS. 13;115(46):E10934-E10940.
  • Strauss, M, N Jayawardena, E Sun, RA Easingwood, LN Burga*, M Bostina*. 2017. Cryo-EM Structure of Seneca Valley Virus Procapsid. Journal of Virology 92(6):e01927-17.
  • Miles L, LNBurga, E Gardner, MBostina, JT Poirier, C Rudin. 2017. Anthrax toxin receptor 1 (ANTXR1) is the cellular receptor for Seneca Valley Virus in neuroendocrine cancers. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 127(8):2957-2967.
  • Fagerlund, RD, ME Wilkinson, O Klykov, A Barendregt, FG Pearce, SN Kieper, HWR Maxwell, A Capolupo, AJR Heck, KL Krause, M Bostina, RA Scheltema, RHJ Staals, PC Fineran. 2017. Spacer capture and integration by a type I-F Cas1:Cas2-3 CRISPR adaptation complex. PNAS. 14(26):E5122-E5128.

     A complete list of publication on pubmed.