Ileana M. Cristea

Henry L. Hillman Professor of Molecular Biology
Office Phone
Thomas Laboratory, 210


Virology meets Proteomics: Cellular Host Defense versus Virus Immune Evasion


The research of our laboratory is at the interface between virology and proteomics. We are studying cellular mechanisms used in defense against viruses, as well as mechanisms used by viruses to inhibit or hijack host cell processes. For these studies, we use multidisciplinary approaches, integrating molecular virology, microscopy, mass spectrometry-based proteomics, and bioinformatics. We have developed a series of proteomics-based approaches for characterizing cellular processes occurring during the progression of viral infections, and we are exploring several areas of interest:

  • Dynamic regulation of host-virus protein-protein and protein-nucleic acid interactions during the progression of an infection
  • Mechanisms of sensing of pathogenic DNA within the nuclei of infected cells
  • Initiation and propagation of intrinsic and innate immune responses following infection with nuclear-replicating herpesviruses
  • Roles and regulation of human deacetylases (histone deacetylases - HDACs and sirtuins - SIRTs) during viral infections
  • Global remodeling of cellular organelles during the progression of viral infection
  • Developing targeted and large-scale proteomic tools for quantifying proteins, identifying protein interactions, determining the specificity of interactions, defining distinct protein complexes, and measuring the relative stability of interactions


Dr. Ileana Cristea has performed her graduate research at the Michael Barber Center for Mass Spectrometry, University of Manchester, U.K., under the supervision of Simon Gaskell, and at the Toxicology Research & Development Department at GlaxoSmithKline, U.K. She pursued her postdoctoral work in the mass spectrometry laboratory of Brian Chait at The Rockefeller University. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University. The research of her group is at the interface between proteomics and virology. Her goal is to build an understanding of viral infection from a proteomics perspective. Broad questions that her lab is addressing are: How do viruses effectively modulate cellular pathways? How do hosts respond to viral infection? Can proteomics identify key host proteins to harness for therapeutic development? To accomplish these goals, her laboratory utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach that integrates proteomics techniques with genomics, microscopy, bioinformatics, and virology. These approaches have allowed her group to bridge developments in mass spectrometry to critical findings in biology, identifying mechanisms used by viruses to manipulate their hosts, as well as defenses hosts deploy to protect themselves from viral attack. Dr. Cristea is a member of the Executive Board of the US Human Proteome Organization (2012-present), US-HUPO Education Committee (2011-present), the American Society for Mass Spectrometry Education Committee (2008-2010), and on the Editorial Boards of Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, Proteomics,Journal of Proteome Research, andJournal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology. She also chairs the Infectious Disease initiative of the HUPO World organization. She acts as a head instructor of the summer Proteomics Course at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, having taught there since 2006. She has taught related workshops at ASMS, HUPO World Congress, US-HUPO, AOHUPO, and ABRF. She is the recipient of the Bordoli Prize from the British Mass Spectrometry Society (2001), NIDA Avant-Garde Director Pioneer Award for HIV/AIDS Research (2008), Human Frontiers Science Program Young Investigator Award (2009), Early Career Award in Mass Spectrometry from the American Chemical Society NJ Section (2011), the American Society for Mass Spectrometry Research Award (2012), and the Molecular & Cellular Proteomics Lectureship (2013).

Honors & Awards


  • Mallinckrodt Scholar Award, Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Foundation


  • American Society for Mass Spectrometry Research Award, American Society for Mass Spectrometry


  • Early Career Award in Mass Spectometry, American Chemical Society


  • Ph.D., Michael Barber Centre for Mass Spectrometry, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology
  • M.Chem., Medicinal Chemistry, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology

Selected Publications