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Jonathan W. Yewdell, M.D., Ph.D.
Bldg. 33, Room 2E13C1
33 North Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892-3209
Phone: 301-402-4602
Fax: 301-402-7362

Jack R. Bennink, Ph.D.
Bldg. 33, Room 2E13C4
33 North Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892-3209
Phone: 301-402-4602
Fax: 301-402-7362

Laboratory of Viral Diseases

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Jonathan W. Yewdell, M.D., Ph.D.
Jack R. Bennink, Ph.D.

Photo of Jonathan W. Yewdell, M.D., Ph.D. and Jack R. Bennink, Ph.D.

Cellular Biology and Viral Immunology Sections, LVD

Major Areas of Research

  • Real-time imaging of virus-host interactions using multiphoton microscopy with the immediate goal of rational design of vaccines for inducing CD8+ T-cell responses
  • Unraveling the role of the sympathetic nervous system in adaptive immune responses
  • Understanding the generation of MHC class I peptide ligands from endogenous and exogenous viral antigens
  • Defining mechanisms that contribute to antigenic drift in the influenza A virus hemagglutinin
  • Understanding how PB1-F2, the 11th defined influenza A virus gene product, modulates host immunity

Program Description

Viruses pose a constant danger to living organisms. An astounding variety of viruses are recognized as human pathogens. The roster lengthens as humans come into more intimate contact with animal reservoirs harboring novel viruses and new technologies reveal human viruses that have previously escaped detection.

The vertebrate immune system evolved in response to the threat posed by viruses. The importance of the immune system in protecting against lethal viral infections becomes obvious in innate or acquired immunodeficiencies, where depression of one or more elements of the system results in death from a typically “self-limited” viral infection, or in the success of vaccines in preventing dangerous viral infections. The immune system (like every biological system) is not perfect, and overzealous anti-viral responses frequently contribute to viral diseases.

The mission of our laboratory is to extend basic understanding of the interaction between the immune system and viruses using mouse infection models.


Dr. Bennink obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania for the study of the specificity of virus immune effector T cells. He spent two years as a member of the Basel Institute for Immunology, followed by five years as assistant and associate professor at the Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology, before coming to the Laboratory of Viral Diseases in 1987. His research focuses on influenza virus and antigen processing and presentation to class I restricted antiviral T cells.


Dr. Yewdell received an A.B. in biochemistry magna cum laude from Princeton University in 1975, working with Dr. Arnold Levine for his undergraduate thesis on immune recognition of virus-transformed cells. He received an M.D. and a Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1981, working with Dr. Walter Gerhard on the mapping of influenza hemagglutinin epitopes using monoclonal antibodies. As a postdoctoral fellow, he worked with Dr. David Lane at the Imperial College in London, studying the newly discovered p53 protein. From 1983 to 1987, he was an assistant professor at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia. In 1987, Dr. Yewdell joined the Laboratory of Viral Diseases and in 1993 was appointed to lead its Cellular Biology Section.

Research Group

Lab Members

Meghan O’Donoghue Altman, Ph.D., Davide Angeletti, Ph.D., Christopher Brooke, Ph.D., Stephanie Cush, Ph.D., Mariana Pavon Eternod, Ph.D., Gregory Frank, Ph.D., William Ince, Ph.D., Ph.D., Barbara Ngudiankama, Ph.D, Mina Seedhom, Ph.D., Jiajie Wei, Ph.D., and Ning Yang, Ph.D.

Research Staff

James Gibbs, Ph.D., Heather Hickman, Ph.D., Javier Magadan, Ph.D., Glennys Reynoso

Selected Publications

Dolan BP, Sharma AA, Gibbs JS, Cunningham TJ, Bennink JR, Yewdell JW. MHC class I antigen processing distinguishes endogenous antigens based on their translation from cellular vs. viral mRNA. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 May 1;109(18):7025-30.

David A, Dolan BP, Hickman HD, Knowlton JJ, Clavarino G, Pierre P, Bennink JR,Yewdell JW. Nuclear translation visualized by ribosome-bound nascent chain puromycylation. J Cell Biol. 2012 Apr 2;197(1):45-57.

Hickman HD, Li L, Reynoso GV, Rubin EJ, Skon CN, Mays JW, Gibbs J, Schwartz O,Bennink JR, Yewdell JW. Chemokines control naive CD8+ T cell selection of optimal lymph node antigen presenting cells. J Exp Med. 2011 Nov 21;208(12):2511-24.

Dolan BP, Knowlton JJ, David A, Bennink JR, Yewdell JW. RNA polymerase II inhibitors dissociate antigenic peptide generation from normal viral protein synthesis: a role for nuclear translation in defective ribosomal product synthesis? J Immunol. 2010 Dec 1;185(11):6728-33.

Netzer N, Goodenbour JM, David A, Dittmar KA, Jones RB, Schneider JR, Boone D, Eves EM, Rosner MR, Gibbs JS, Embry A, Dolan B, Das S, Hickman HD, Berglund P, Bennink JR, Yewdell JW, Pan T. Innate immune and chemically triggered oxidative stress modifies translational fidelity. Nature. 2009 Nov 26;462(7272):522-6.

Hensley SE, Das SR, Bailey AL, Schmidt LM, Hickman HD, Jayaraman A, Viswanathan K, Raman R, Sasisekharan R, Bennink JR, Yewdell JW. Hemagglutinin receptor binding avidity drives influenza A virus antigenic drift. Science. 2009 Oct 30;326(5953):734-6.

Visit PubMed for a complete publication listing.

Last Updated October 23, 2013