Veronica Heintz

Veronica Heintz Profile Picture
Training Group:

Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases

Mentor / Lab:

Doug LaCount

Specific Research Area / Project:

Human-viral protein-protein interactions

Undergraduate Institution:

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Research Profile:

Viruses have small genomes and are unable to encode all of the proteins needed to complete their life cycles. Thus, viruses rely on interactions with the host cell to promote their replication and transmission. Currently, I am working on two projects to identify virus-human protein-protein interactions (PPIs). The first project aims to identify PPIs that are critical for replication of filoviruses, such as Ebola and Marburgvirus. Through genome-wide yeast two-hybrid screens we are generating a high-quality PPI network, which will reveal shared cellular pathways targeted by these related viruses. My second project focuses on Zika virus-human PPIs. My goal is to better understand how Zika virus causes microcephaly in babies born to mothers that have been infected during pregnancy. Overall, these two projects will establish a deeper understanding of interactions that occur between human and viral proteins during viral infection.

About Me:

I like to think I that I was destined to be a Boilermaker. My dad and sister attended Purdue and after I learned of the PULSe program, I knew I wanted to be a Boilermaker, too. Being a part of the PULSe program has been a wonderful experience. Having the opportunity to rotate in labs all across campus and meet so many incredible colleagues with diverse expertise has helped me understand the empowerment that comes from being a part of the PULSe community. No matter what building I enter or seminar I attend, I am greeted with a familiar face. No matter what research challenge I encounter or what new skill I need to learn, I have someone on campus that can help. Having the friendships and professional support of the PULSe community has given me the encouragement I need as I continue my thesis research.


  • Women in Science Spring Travel Award
  • Certificate of Excellence in Research Award for 2018 from the Office of Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs Spring Reception


  • Heintz, V.J., Sivanandam, V., Wang, L., Shtanko, O., Reyes, A., Davey, R., and LaCount, D.J. (2018, May). Interactions among Filovirus matrix protein VP40 and human proteins. Poster presented at the Office of Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs Spring Reception, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Sivanandam, V., Heintz, V.J., Wang, L., Shtanko, O., Davey, R., and LaCount, D.J. (2017, June). Virus-Host Cell Protein–Protein Interactions of Filovirus VP40. Poster presented at American Society for Virology, Madison, WI
  • Heintz, V.J., Rugema, N.Y., Garland-Kuntz, E., and Lyon, A. (2016, April). Structure and function of PLCe CDC25 domain. Poster presented at the PULSe Spring Symposium, Purdue University


  • Science in Schools volunteer
  • Science Night volunteer
  • Spring Fest Science in Schools volunteer
  • First-year mentoring program
  • Women in Science participant

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