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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr. Susan Hafenstein's research focuses on understanding the structure and functions of viruses, specifically host-virus interactions that facilitate viral entry into cells. She is an expert in cryoEM, utilizing local reconstruction approaches to solve atomic resolution maps of viruses like HPV, murine papillomavirus, polyomavirus and Zika virus.

Teaching and educational interests

Dr. Hafenstein is committed to mentoring undergraduate, graduate, and post-degree students in cryoEM, structural biology and infectious diseases. She mentors students within her research lab, prioritizing trainee projects, grant pursuit and publications. Dr. Hafenstein also developed and teaches the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology's cryoEM class and leads a weekly structural biology journal club that is open to all Penn State researchers interested in learning more about cryoEM.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Purdue University

… → 2007

Pathobiology, PhD, University of Arizona

… → 2003


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