Skip Navigation
Leading research to understand, treat, and prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases
Skip Content Marketing
  • Share this:
  • submit to facebook
  • Tweet it
  • submit to reddit
  • submit to StumbleUpon
  • submit to Google +

Kathryn C. Zoon, Ph.D.

Photos of Katherine Zoon, PhD

Chief, Cytokine Biology Section

Major Areas of Research

  • Production and characterization of protein-engineered human interferons (IFNs)
  • Interaction of Type I human IFNs with the Type I human IFN receptor
  • Signal transduction mechanisms and biological activities of human IFNs
  • The antiviral and antiproliferative activities of human IFNs

Program Description

The Cytokine Biology Section (CBS) conducts basic and translational research on human IFNs. Our studies examine the structure and function of human IFN alphas using a variety of methods, including protein engineering, gene expression microarrays, proteomics, and bioassays.

The CBS is composed of an interactive group of Ph.D., M.D., and interdisciplinary scientists who work in a state-of-the-art building. The laboratory program is aimed at the following:

  • Identifying the structure and function of both naturally occurring and protein-engineered human IFN-alphas
  • Examining the interaction of IFN-alpha with its receptor
  • Studying the signal transduction pathways of IFN-alphas using gene expression microarrays and proteomics
  • Studying the biological effects of IFN-alphas in cell culture and animal models


Dr. Zoon obtained her B.S. cum laude and her Ph.D. in biochemistry from The Johns Hopkins University. Her research focuses on the structure and function of human IFNs. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Interferon Research and author or co-author of more than 100 publications. She was past president of the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research (2000–2001), served on the board of directors for the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES) and the International Association of Biologicals, and was the first vice president of FAES.

Prior to joining NIAID in June 2004, Dr. Zoon was principal deputy director of the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration, and a member of the National Institutes of Health Scientific Directors. She has received numerous awards and is a member of the Institute of Medicine.

Research Group

Cytokine Biology Lab Members
From left to right: Christopher Clark; Dara Lorn; Tongmao Zhao, Ph.D.; Hana Schmeisser, Ph.D.; Angel Morrow; Kathryn Zoon, Ph.D.; Joseph Bekisz; Samuel Baron, M.D.; Kotaro Miyake, M.D.; Daniel Eichberg; Corey Balinsky, Ph.D.; Joel Finbloom

Selected Publications

Morrow AN, Schmeisser H, Tsuno T, Zoon KC. A novel role for IFN-stimulated gene fact 3II in IFN-γ signaling an induction of antiviral activity in human cells. J Immunol. 2011 Feb 1;186(3):1685-93.

Ganatra MB, Vainauskas S, Hong JM, Taylor TE, Denson JP, Esposito D, Read JD, Schmeisser H, Zoon KC, Hartley JL, Taron CH. A set of aspartyl protease-deficient strains for improved expression of heterologous proteins in Kluyveromyces lactis. FEMS Yeast Res. 2011 Mar;11(2):168-78.

Schmeisser H, Mejido J, Balinsky CA, Morrow AN, Clark CR, Zhao T, Zoon KC. Identification of alpha interferon-induced genes associated with antiviral activity in Daudi cells and characterization of IFIT3 as a novel antiviral gene. J Virol. 2010 Oct;84(20):10671-80. Epub 2010 Aug 4.

Bekisz J, Baron S, Balinsky C, Morrow A, Zoon KC. Antiproliferative properties of Type I and Type II interferon. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2010 Mar 30;3(4):994-1015.

Tsuno T, Mejido J, Zhao T, Schmeisser H, Morrow A, Zoon KC. IRF9 is a key factor for eliciting the antiproliferative activity of IFN-alpha. J Immunother. 2009 Oct;32(8):803-16.

Schmeisser H, Gorshkova I, Brown PH, Kontsek P, Schuck P, Zoon KC. Two interferons alpha influence each other during their interaction with the extracellular domain of human type interferon receptor subunit 2. Biochemistry. 2007 Dec 18;46(50):14638-49.

Visit PubMed for a complete publication list.


Zoon KC, Hu R, Bekisz JB, Hayes, MP, inventors; Government of the United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, assignee. Interferon alpha hybrids. United States patent US 7,235,232. 2003 Jul 8.

Last Updated June 13, 2012