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

Dr 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 2019


Lab group

Dr Laura Burga - Research Fellow      

Postgraduate students

SaiVelamoor2 ShakeelWaqqar3    
Sailakshmi Velamoor - PhD Student
Shakeel Waqqar - PhD Student


Kai Lee 


Harry MacFarlane 

Caitlan Gibb2  
 Kai Lee - MSc Student  Harry McFarlane - BSc (Hons) Caitlin Gibb - BSc (Hons)  

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.



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)

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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)

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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.

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

Lab alumni

En Watanabe (2020), Milly Oldfield (2020), Nadishka Jayawardena (2016-2020), Sean Mackay (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), Danni Chen (2014), Mariya Yevstigneyeva (2014).




Recent publications

  • Jayawardena N, Miles LA, Burga LN, Rudin C, Wolf M, Poirier JT, Bostina M. 2021N-Linked Glycosylation on Anthrax Toxin Receptor 1 Is Essential for Seneca Valley Virus Infection. Viruses, 13(5):769

  • 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, 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. 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.

  • Basu, K., D Lajoie, T Aumentado-Armstrong, I Chen, RI Koning, B Bossy, M Bostina, A Sik, E Bossy-Wetzel, I Rouiller. 2017. Molecular mechanism of DRP1 assembly studied in vitro by cryo-electron microscopy. PLOS One 12(6):e0179397.

  • Hampton, H.G., M.B. McNeil, T.J. Paterson, B. Ney, N.R. Williamson, R.A. Easingwood, M. Bostina, G.P.C. Salmond, and P.C. Fineran. 2016. CRISPR-Cas gene editing reveals RsmA and RsmC act through FlhDC to repress the SdhE flavinylation factor and control motility and prodigiosin production in SerratiaMicrobiology. 162(6):1047-58.

  • Frampton RA, Acedo EL, Young VL, Chen D, Tong B, Taylor C, Easingwood RA, Pitman AR, Kleffmann T, M Bostina*, PC Fineran*. 2015. Genome, Proteome and Structure of a T7-Like Bacteriophage of the Kiwifruit Canker Phytopathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae. Viruses. 7(7):3361-79.

  • Schoderboeck, L.,S. Riad, A.M. Bokor, H.E. Wicky, M. Strauss, M.Bostina, M.J. Oswald, R.M. Empson, S.M. Hughes. 2015. Chimeric rabies SADB19-VSVg-pseudotyped lentiviral vectors mediate long-range retrograde transduction from the mouse spinal cord. Gene Therapy. 22(5):357-64.

  • Kalynych S., M. Cherney, M. Bostina, I. Rouiller, and M. Cygler. 2015. Quaternary structure of WzzB and WzzE polysaccharide copolymerases. Protein Science. 24(1):58-69.

     A complete list of publication on pubmed.