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Robert Kirchdoerfer

Expert on coronavirus entry into host cells and replication of viral RNA genomes. Structural biology and molecular aspects of protein machines.

Assistant Professor, Biochemistry, Institute for Molecular Virology, Laboratory of Cell and Molecular Biology College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Work: 608-262-6191 — Home and cell phones available upon request Home page Twitter: @RKirchdoerfer


  • How do coronaviruses recognize their hosts? Interactions between viral spike proteins and host proteins mediate the entry of viruses into cells to begin infection.
  • How do coronaviruses make copies of themselves? The virus uses a protein machine to copy its genome and manipulate the host to synthesize viral proteins.
  • We study molecular aspects of coronavirus life cycles by examining viral proteins with high-resolution imaging techniques, biochemistry and cell biology.


  • High-resolution structure determination of the SARS-CoV polymerase in complex with essential co-factors using cryo-electron microscopy.
  • Molecular definition of human and animal coronavirus spike proteins and their interactions with host receptors.