Rachel Fearns, PhD
Chair and Ernest Barsamian, MD Professor
Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
Virology, Immunology & Microbiology

PhD, University of St Andrews
BS, University of Leeds



My group's research focuses on the transcription-replication machinery of non-segmented negative strand RNA viruses. My work spans several viruses in different viral families, including Marburg virus, Nipah virus, respiratory syncytial virus, and parainfluenza virus. Although these viruses cause very different diseases, they all share common mechanisms to transcribe and replicate their RNA genomes. My group specializes in using biochemical and molecular biology approaches to probe functional properties of the transcription-replication machinery. We collaborate with structural biologists to understand how the structure of viral polymerases relates to their multi-functional properties, with industry partners to determine the mechanism of action of small molecule polymerase inhibitors with therapeutic potential, and with experts in microscopy to study how the transcription-replication machinery is organized and regulated in infected cells.

Faculty
Boston University
National Emerging Infectious Disease Lab


Member
Boston University
Pulmonary Center


Member
Boston University
Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research


Member
Boston University
Genome Science Institute


Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students)
Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences




Structure and Biochemistry of henipavirus polymerase complex
10/31/2022 - 09/30/2025 (PI)
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


Determining the impact of respiratory syncytial virus M2-1 protein on post-transcriptional regulation of cellular and viral mRNAs
08/14/2023 - 07/31/2025 (PI)
NIH/National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases
1R21AI174597-01

Antiviral Countermeasures Development Center (AC/DC) //AViDD Pilot Project
05/01/2023 - 04/30/2025 (Subcontract PI)
Emory University NIH NIAID
1U19AI171403-01

Mechanisms of Marburg virus gene expression
05/08/2018 - 04/30/2024 (Multi-PI)
PI: Rachel Fearns, PhD
NIH/National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases
5R01AI133486-05

Studies to Assess the Mechanism of Action of an L Inhibitor
02/15/2022 - 09/30/2023 (PI)
Merck, Sharp & Dohme LLC


Modeling the permature airway with neonatal airway basal cells
06/01/2022 - 05/31/2023 (Subcontract PI)
Massachusetts General Hospital NIH NIAID
5R21AI156597-02

The B cell repertoire as a window into the nature and impact of the lung virome
05/01/2019 - 04/30/2023 (Multi-PI)
PI: Rachel Fearns, PhD
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
5R33HL137081-05

Characterize the transcriptional and genome replication mechanism of paramyxoviruses for the discovery of broad spectrum anti-virals
09/01/2020 - 04/16/2023 (PI)
F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Ltd.


Studies to assess the mechanism of inhibition of pneumovirus L and N-P inhibitors
10/01/2020 - 01/31/2023 (PI)
Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Inc


Interplay between respiratory syncytial virus and nucleotide biosynthesis pathways
02/07/2020 - 01/31/2023 (PI)
NIH/National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases
5R21AI147659-02

Showing 10 of 21 results. Show All Results


Title


Yr Title Project-Sub Proj Pubs
2023 Determining the impact of respiratory syncytial virus M2-1 protein on post-transcriptional regulation of cellular and viral mRNAs 1R21AI174597-01
2022 Mechanisms of Marburg virus gene expression 5R01AI133486-05
2021 Interplay between respiratory syncytial virus and nucleotide biosynthesis pathways 5R21AI147659-02
2021 Mechanisms of Marburg virus gene expression 5R01AI133486-04 3
2021 The B cell repertoire as a window into the nature and impact of the lung virome 5R33HL137081-05
2020 Interplay between respiratory syncytial virus and nucleotide biosynthesis pathways 1R21AI147659-01A1
2020 Mechanisms of Marburg virus gene expression 5R01AI133486-03 3
2020 The B cell repertoire as a window into the nature and impact of the lung virome 5R33HL137081-04
2019 Mechanisms of Marburg virus gene expression 5R01AI133486-02 3
2019 The B cell repertoire as a window into the nature and impact of the lung virome 4R33HL137081-03
Showing 10 of 23 results. Show All Results

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

iCite Analysis       Copy PMIDs To Clipboard

  1. Xie J, Ouizougun-Oubari M, Wang L, Zhai G, Wu D, Lin Z, Wang M, Ludeke B, Yan X, Nilsson T, Gao L, Huang X, Fearns R, Chen S. Structural basis for dimerization of a paramyxovirus polymerase complex. Nat Commun. 2024 Apr 11; 15(1):3163.View Related Profiles. PMID: 38605025; PMCID: PMC11009304; DOI: 10.1038/s41467-024-47470-7;
     
  2. Yu X, Abeywickrema P, Bonneux B, Behera I, Anson B, Jacoby E, Fung A, Adhikary S, Bhaumik A, Carbajo RJ, De Bruyn S, Miller R, Patrick A, Pham Q, Piassek M, Verheyen N, Shareef A, Sutto-Ortiz P, Ysebaert N, Van Vlijmen H, Jonckers THM, Herschke F, McLellan JS, Decroly E, Fearns R, Grosse S, Roymans D, Sharma S, Rigaux P, Jin Z. Structural and mechanistic insights into the inhibition of respiratory syncytial virus polymerase by a non-nucleoside inhibitor. Commun Biol. 2023 Oct 21; 6(1):1074. PMID: 37865687; PMCID: PMC10590419; DOI: 10.1038/s42003-023-05451-4;
     
  3. Zhao C, Wang W, Bai Y, Amonkar G, Mou H, Olejnik J, Hume AJ, Mühlberger E, Fang Y, Que J, Fearns R, Ai X, Lerou PH. Age-related STAT3 signaling regulates severity of respiratory syncytial viral infection in human bronchial epithelial cells. bioRxiv. 2023 Sep 21.View Related Profiles. PMID: 37781574; PMCID: PMC10541147; DOI: 10.1101/2023.09.20.558606;
     
  4. Aihara F, Wang Y, Belkina AC, Fearns R, Mizgerd JP, Feng F, Kepler TB. Diversity of B Cell Populations and Ig Repertoire in Human Lungs. J Immunol. 2023 Aug 01; 211(3):486-496.View Related Profiles. PMID: 37314411; PMCID: PMC10352589; DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.2200340;
     
  5. Kleiner VA, O Fischmann T, Howe JA, Beshore DC, Eddins MJ, Hou Y, Mayhood T, Klein D, Nahas DD, Lucas BJ, Xi H, Murray E, Ma DY, Getty K, Fearns R. Conserved allosteric inhibitory site on the respiratory syncytial virus and human metapneumovirus RNA-dependent RNA polymerases. Commun Biol. 2023 Jun 19; 6(1):649. PMID: 37337079; PMCID: PMC10279679; DOI: 10.1038/s42003-023-04990-0;
     
  6. Ouizougun-Oubari M, Fearns R. Structures and Mechanisms of Nonsegmented, Negative-Strand RNA Virus Polymerases. Annu Rev Virol. 2023 Sep 29; 10(1):199-215.View Related Profiles. PMID: 37137281
     
  7. Donovan-Banfield I, Milligan R, Hall S, Gao T, Murphy E, Li J, Shawli GT, Hiscox J, Zhuang X, McKeating JA, Fearns R, Matthews DA. Direct RNA sequencing of respiratory syncytial virus infected human cells generates a detailed overview of RSV polycistronic mRNA and transcript abundance. PLoS One. 2022; 17(11):e0276697. PMID: 36355791; PMCID: PMC9648745; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0276697;
     
  8. Cressey TN, Shareef AM, Kleiner VA, Noton SL, Byrne PO, McLellan JS, Mühlberger E, Fearns R. Distinctive features of the respiratory syncytial virus priming loop compared to other non-segmented negative strand RNA viruses. PLoS Pathog. 2022 06; 18(6):e1010451.View Related Profiles. PMID: 35731802; PMCID: PMC9255747; DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1010451;
     
  9. Conley MJ, Short JM, Burns AM, Streetley J, Hutchings J, Bakker SE, Power BJ, Jaffery H, Haney J, Zanetti G, Murcia PR, Stewart M, Fearns R, Vijayakrishnan S, Bhella D. Helical ordering of envelope-associated proteins and glycoproteins in respiratory syncytial virus. EMBO J. 2022 02 01; 41(3):e109728. PMID: 34935163; PMCID: PMC8804925; DOI: 10.15252/embj.2021109728;
     
  10. Shareef AM, Ludeke B, Jordan P, Deval J, Fearns R. Comparison of RNA synthesis initiation properties of non-segmented negative strand RNA virus polymerases. PLoS Pathog. 2021 12; 17(12):e1010151. PMID: 34914795; PMCID: PMC8717993; DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1010151;
     
Showing 10 of 61 results. Show More

This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 61 publications over 25 distinct years, with a maximum of 5 publications in 2015 and 2018 and 2019 and 2023

YearPublications
19941
19951
19961
19972
19993
20001
20021
20053
20061
20092
20103
20111
20121
20132
20143
20155
20164
20172
20185
20195
20202
20214
20222
20235
20241
In addition to these self-described keywords below, a list of MeSH based concepts is available here.

mononegavirales
paramyxovirus
processing bodies
RNA dependent RNA polymerase
stress granules
transcription

Available to Mentor as: (Review Mentor Role Definitions):
  • Advisor
  • Research / Scholarly Mentor
Contact for Mentoring:

72 E. Concord St Housman (R)
Boston MA 02118
Google Map


Fearns's Networks
Click the "See All" links for more information and interactive visualizations
Concepts
_
Media Mentions
_
Co-Authors
_
Similar People
_
Same Department