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Dr. Marcos Ortega

Assistant Professor Biochemistry

Ortega sm

Biochemical, biophysical, and structural approaches to study viral replication and assembly using X-Ray crystallography and enzyme kinetics. The understanding of the biochemical structure and function of viral proteins can provide foundational knowledge about how to develop antiviral therapies.The energy intensive process of viral replication can also serve as a model to understand how biological systems use biomolecules to produce massive amounts of energy.

Office: MH-507
Phone: (657) 278-4256
Lab: DBH-145
Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Courses Taught

  • CHEM 421 Biological Chemistry
  • CHEM 422 General Biochemistry Laboratory


Postdoctoral- Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA
Postdoctoral - University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Ph.D.  University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Aurora, CO
B.A. Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA

Research Interests

Professor Ortega studies double stranded DNA viruses utilizing the bacteriophages as a model system to understand viral replication and assembly in this family of viruses.The Ortega lab approaches the research from a biochemical and structural perspective using biochemical assays, biophysical approaches, and X-Ray crystallography. The work in the Ortega lab hopes to connect protein structure with protein function to try and understand how viral proteins utilize complex structures to initiate viral replication and virion assembly in an energy intensive process.

The goal of the Ortega lab is to understand the chemical and thermodynamic processes that regulate and promote viral assembly and produce more infectious particles. The biochemical data can be utilized to better understand viral replication in the eukaryotic double stranded DNA viruses and also to develop viral therapies for this family of viruses. The energy intensive process of viral replication is also studied at the molecular and structural level to try and understand how the massive amounts of energy are produced from chemically simple biomolecules. The ability to elucidate the molecular details of this energy production could prove useful when considering alternative energy sources.