Willing to Mentor

    Available to Mentor:

    PhD/MSTP Students, Undergraduate Students, Post-Baccalaureate Students, Health Professions (Medical, OT, PT, Dental, Audiology, etc.) Students, Postdocs, Residents and Fellows

    • 327

    Research activity per year

    Personal profile

    Research interests

    Dr. Janowski's research concentrates on understanding the diseases in humans caused by novel viruses. His current focus is on a family of RNA viruses known as astroviruses. For the past 40 years, these viruses have been considered primary pathogens of the gastrointestinal tract. Recently, these viruses have been identified to cause central nervous system infections in humans and other mammals, with a mortality rate near 50% in humans. He has developed the first cell culture and animal model of infection with astrovirus VA1, a recently discovered astrovirus strain that is the most commonly identified astrovirus from cases of human encephalitis. Surprisingly, astrovirus VA1 also has the capacity to infect cells of the heart and to cause myocarditis in mice, suggesting this virus could also cause cardiovascular diseases in humans. He aims to understand the mechanisms in which this virus causes disease in the central nervous and cardiovascular systems, and to develop treatments for patients with astrovirus infections.

    In addition, Dr. Janowski is studying the stem-loop II motif, a highly conserved RNA sequence present in viruses of multiple families, including SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2, and astrovirus VA1. This element is essential for replication of astrovirus VA1, but interestingly, it is dispensable for SARS-CoV-2. The lab is currently studying why this motif can have differing levels of importance for the viral lifecycle, despite being highly conserved across these viruses. 

    Clinical interests

    Infections of childhood, viral infections


    My mentorship philosophy is for everyone to be an active learner. Being a learner in science does not come by passive diffusion, but requires active uptake and participation of knowledge. I am a strong believer in the Socratic teaching method, aiming for the learner to teach me as much as he/she may know, and for me to fill in any gaps. Practicing science requires attention to detail with chance favoring the prepared mind. My goal is to provide the tools in which enables the learner to make decisions in any number of situations. It is not just about what you publish, but the skills that you learn.

    My dedication to teaching started in early in my life as I volunteered in elementary school classrooms in high school and college. Teaching remains one of my best skills, having earned the most Outstanding Fellow Teaching Award from the Department of Pediatrics. In the short-time my lab has started I am two for two in aiding my research technicians in being accepted to graduate school.

    The Janowski lab is committed to inclusion and diversity at Washington University. The lab continues to foster growth and equity of all members of the research community and to reach out to those underrepresented. My training in medicine has brought me to the forefront of disparities in our communities as I treat children of all backgrounds. My own background is representative of the diversity I aim to foster as I am of Chinese and European decent, as my maternal grandparents immigrated to the US from China around 70 years ago. 


    • COVID-19

    Available to Mentor:

    • PhD/MSTP Students
    • Undergraduate Students
    • Post-Baccalaureate Students
    • Health Professions Students
    • Postdocs
    • Residents and Fellows


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