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Paolo Lusso, M.D., Ph.D.
Building 10, Room 6A11
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892-1576
301-496-0794 (lab)
301-451-7495 (personal)
Fax: 301-480-5291

Laboratory of Immunoregulation

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Paolo Lusso, M.D., Ph.D.


Chief, Viral Pathogenesis Section, LIR

Major Areas of Research

  • Pathogenesis of human viral diseases, with particular focus on HIV-1 and T-lymphotropic herpesviruses
  • Viral receptors and coreceptors
  • Role of chemokines and other endogenous factors in HIV-1 disease
  • Characterization of highly conserved functional regions of the HIV-1 envelope as potential vaccine targets
  • Novel approaches to the development of HIV-1 entry inhibitors

Program Description

The main focus of the Viral Pathogenesis Section (VPS) is to study the pathogenesis of human viral diseases, with particular emphasis on HIV-1/AIDS, and to use this knowledge to devise innovative strategies of therapy and vaccine. Despite the extraordinary advances made over the past 30 years in HIV research, the AIDS pandemic remains one of the greatest scientific challenges in the world. Current research topics in the VPS include the characterization of two novel HIV-suppressive chemokines recently identified in our laboratory with the aim of elucidating the molecular mechanism(s) of their antiviral action and their potential role as endogenous protective factors in the course of HIV-1 infection; the study of the dichotomous role played by interleukin-7 (IL-7), the main T-cell homeostatic cytokine, in the course of HIV-1 infection using a comprehensive approach combining classic immunology and virology with state-of-the-art post-genomic technologies and in vivo studies in nonhuman primate models; and the investigation of the structure-function relationships within the external HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein, gp120, with the aim of identifying conserved functional regions involved in both inter- and intra-molecular interactions, which may be used for the rational design of novel immunogens capable of inducing protective antibodies.


Dr. Lusso received his M.D. from the University of Turin and his Ph.D. from the Ministry of Scientific and Technologic Research, Rome, Italy. He is a board-certified specialist in internal medicine and in infectious diseases. He came to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the first time in 1986 to work in the Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology under Dr. Robert C. Gallo at the National Cancer Institute. He returned to Italy in 1994, where he created the Laboratory of Human Virology at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan and became associate professor of infectious diseases at the University of Cagliari. In 2006, he again joined NIH, where he became chief of the Viral Pathogenesis Section in the Laboratory of Immunoregulation. He is an executive editor of Current HIV Research. In 2004, he was elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization.

Research Group

Raffaello Cimbro, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Surender B. Kumar, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Christina Guzzo, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Thomas R. Gallant, B.Sc., Post-baccalaureate
Huiyi Miao, M.S., Biologist
Yin Lin, Ph.D., Biologist

Selected Publications

Auerbach DJ, Lin Y, Miao H, Cimbro R, DiFiore MJ, Gianolini ME, Furci L, Biswas P, Fauci AS, Lusso P. Identification of the platelet-derived chemokine CXCL4/PF-4 as a broad-spectrum HIV-1 inhibitor. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.

Vassena L, Miao H, Cimbro R, Malnati MS, Cassina G, Proschan MA, Hirsch VM, Lafont BA, Morre M, Fauci AS, Lusso P. Treatment with IL-7 prevents the decline of circulating CD4+ T cells during the acute phase of SIV infection in rhesus macaques. PLoS Pathog. 2012 Apr;8(4):e1002636.

Vassena L, Proschan M, Fauci AS, Lusso P. Interleukin 7 reduces the levels of spontaneous apoptosis in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from HIV-1-infected individuals. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Feb 13;104(7):2355-60.

Nardese V, Longhi R, Polo S, Sironi F, Arcelloni C, Paroni R, DeSantis C, Sarmientos P, Rizzi M, Bolognesi M, Pavone V, Lusso P. Structural determinants of CCR5 recognition and HIV-1 blockade in RANTES. Nat Struct Biol. 2001 Jul;8(7):611-5.

Santoro F, Kennedy PE, Locatelli G, Malnati MS, Berger EA, Lusso P. CD46 is a cellular receptor for human herpesvirus 6. Cell. 1999 Dec 23;99(7):817-27.

Cocchi F, DeVico AL, Garzino-Demo A, Arya SK, Gallo RC, Lusso P. Identification of RANTES, MIP-1 alpha, and MIP-1 beta as the major HIV-suppressive factors produced by CD8+ T cells. Science. 1995 Dec 15;270(5243):1811-5.

Visit PubMed for a complete publication listing.

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Last Updated September 25, 2012

Last Reviewed September 25, 2012