Virus structure function and inhibition

Sarah Butcher research group

Our work aims to understand the structure, assembly and function of various biological macromolecular complexes. We visualize specimens in their unstained, unfixed, native-like states using transmission electron cryo-microscopy (cryoEM) and subsequently produce high-resolution structures by state-of-the-art 3D image processing. In addition, we use other complementary methods such as X-ray crystallography and biochemistry to help connect the path from structure to function.  

Our recent research focuses on human pathogenic viruses, as well as some bacteriophages. More specifically we seek to know how different viruses assemble, uncoat, and interact with host cells to promote infection. We also determine how antibodies and antivirals interact and inhibit viruses, hoping to contribute to the discovery of new means to prevent disease.

Research interests: assembly and structure determination of viruses, virus-receptor interaction, antivirals, neutralizing antibodies, electron cryo-microscopy, image processing, crystallography.


Sarah Butcher, PhD, Professor 
Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences &
Institute of Biotechnology, HiLIFE 

Biocenter 1
P.O.Box 56 (Viikinkaari 9) 
00014 University of Helsinki

Phone: +358 2 941 59563 

Sarah is a Principal Investigator/Group Leader at BI and Professor of Microbiology at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences (Molecular and Integrative Biosciences Research Programme).