Faculty Directory

Stefan G. Sarafianos, PhD

Stefan G. Sarafianos, PhD headshot

Professor and Associate Director
Laboratory of Biochemical Pharmacology
Department of Pediatrics
Emory University School of Medicine

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PHONE: 404-727-9579
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Health Sciences Research Building
1760 Haygood Dr NE,
Atlanta, GA, 30322

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Dr. Sarafianos holds the Nahmias-Schinazi Distinguished Professor endowed chair at Emory University, where he serves as Associate Director of LOBP and Co-Director of CVC. He also serves as Co-Director of the B-HIVE U54 Center at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Since 1993, he has published >190 manuscripts in retroviral structural biology, biochemistry, and virology. The structures solved through his collaborations are seminal in the field of HIV drug resistance and DNA polymerases. His lab develops novel inhibitors and characterizes their mechanisms of inhibition and resistance. Notably, his work with EFdA has resulted in >25 publications and licensing by Merck. Dr. Sarafianos was the first to provide a structural model for the SARS-CoV RNA-dependent RNA polymerase and express, purify, and characterize the SARS Co-V RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. Since 2003, his work with coronaviruses has focused on discovery of antivirals that block RNA unwinding and viral entry. Recently, his lab has focused on developing tools for extensive screening and mechanistic characterization of inhibition, drug resistance, and basic biology of coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2.


The Sarafianos Laboratory works towards unraveling the molecular details of how biomedically-relevant enzymes function, how they are inhibited, how they develop drug resistance and towards developing drugs that will treat human disease by novel mechanisms of action. In pursuit of these goals, they use a combination of conventional and cutting-edge research tools, including protein biochemistry, molecular biology, fluorescence imaging/microscopy, macromolecular engineering, X-ray crystallography, molecular modeling, enzymology, and high-throughput technologies. Target proteins include HIV reverse transcriptase, HIV capsid protein, Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reverse transcriptase, and HBV capsid protein. Ongoing efforts focus on various steps of HIV, SARS, Mpox, Nipah HBV, and HCV life cycles, including cell entry, uncoating, reverse transcription, nuclear entry, assembly, and host interactions towards developing novel therapeutics.

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