James Van Etten, PhD

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Plant Pathology
Morrison Center
Lincoln, NE 68583-0900
(402)-472-3168

Please visit our Lab Webpage

William Allington Distinguished Professor


Research in the Van Etten laboratory focuses on the isolation and characterization of large icosahedral, dsDNA-containing, plaque-forming viruses that infect certain unicellular, eukaryotic chlorella-like green algae. These viruses are ubiquitous in freshwater from all over the world. The chlorella viruses have genomes as large as 370 kb that contain as many as 400 protein-encoding and 16 tRNA encoding genes. Besides their large genomes, the chlorella viruses have other unexpected features:

  1. They encode multiple DNA methyltransferases and DNA restriction endonucleases.
  2. Unlike other glycoprotein-containing viruses, chlorella viruses encode most, if not all, of the components required to glycosylate their proteins.
  3. Many chlorella virus-encoded proteins are either the smallest or among the smallest proteins of their class.
Consequently, these proteins serve as models for mechanistic and structural studies. Infection by the chlorella viruses resembles bacterial infection by tailed bacteriophages in many respects.

Education

1965-66

Postdoc, Molecular Biology - University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy

1965

PhD, Plant Pathology - University of Illinois, Urbana, IL

1963

MS, Plant Pathology - University of Illinois, Urbana, IL

1960

BA, Biology - Carleton College, Minnesota

Professsional Experience

2000 - present

Co-Director of the Nebraska Center for Virology

1993 - present

William Allington Distinguished Professor of Plant Pathology

1986 - 1993

William Allington Professor of Plant Pathology

1974 - 1986

Professor, Plant Pathology
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE

1969 - 1974

Associate Professor, Plant Pathology
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE

1966 - 1969

Assistant Professor, Plant Pathology
Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE

1965 - 1966

NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Genetics
University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy

Professional Affiliations

1999-2003

Editorial Board, Molecular Plant Pathology

2001

Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology

1997 - 1999

Coordinator of the UNL Plant Science Initiative

1993

Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

1991, 1992

Committee member of the USDA Grants (Plant Pathology/Weeds) Panel

1989-present

Associate Editor, Virology

August 1989

Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society

1984

Co-chairman of Gordon Conference on Fungal Metabolism

1978, 1981, 1984-87

Committee member of NIH study section on Microbial Physiology

1980-85

Editorial Board, Journal of Bacteriology

1976-96

Associate Editor, Experimental Mycology

1974 - 1977

Membership on Editorial Boards and Government Panels: Editorial Board, Phytopathology

Research Publication

PubMed
Google Scholar

Honors

2021

Gamma Sigma Delta Award of Merit

2016

Award of Distinction from American Phytopathological Society

2013-2015

Sigma Xi distinguished lecturer

2013

Elected fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

2010

Carleton College Alumni Achievement Awardr

2009

Fellow of the UNL College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resourcer

2004

Omtvedt Innovation Award from University of Nebraska

2003

Elected member of the National Academy of Sciences

2001

Fellow of American Academy of Microbiology

1999

Recipient of the Nebraska Sigma Xi outstanding scientist award

1993

Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science

1992

Recipient of the University of Nebraska Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award

NCV Events

FLYSWAT
30th Nebraska Center for Virology Annual Retreat

March 14, 2022
Morrison Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln