Kirchdoerfer Joins IPiB, Campus Virology Community to Utilize Cryo-EM Technologies

Robert Kirchdoerfer
Robert Kirchdoerfer

When Robert Kirchdoerfer was offered a faculty position in the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Biochemistry, it was a bit of a homecoming. The 2006 undergraduate alumnus and Oregon, Wisc. native will be arriving back on campus in mid-August — this time as an assistant professor in Biochemistry and the Institute for Molecular Virology.

Following his Bachelor of Science with majors in biochemistry and genetics, Kirchdoerfer earned his Ph.D. in biophysics at Scripps Research Institute in Southern California and continued there as a postdoctoral scholar before coming back to UW–Madison. During graduate school he became fascinated by viruses while working on the flu virus and it’s an interest that guides his research today. As a member of the Department of Biochemistry, he will be a trainer in the Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB).

“Viruses are so fascinating to study because they defy expectations,” he explains. “For every rule and trend in biology, there is a virus out there that somehow breaks it. This means that viruses have a lot to teach us about what biological systems are capable of.”

His position in the Institute for Molecular Virology is part of its recent Metastructures of Viral Infection cluster hire initiative, supported by the Office of the Provost. The cluster is creating three new positions in total to leverage and improve UW–Madison’s current strengths in RNA virology, DNA virus epigenetics, and atomic-level imaging, and expand the institute’s research portfolio into the evolving field of metastructural virology. UW–Madison’s Cluster Hiring Initiative was launched in 1998 as an innovative partnership between the university, state and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).

To read more about Kirchdoerfer, see the link below.