Audray Harris, Ph.D.

Chief, Structural Informatics Unit

Major Areas of Research

  • Molecular architecture and assembly of viruses
  • Structure-function and epitope mapping of viral glycoproteins
  • Characterization and structural studies of vaccine immunogens and particles.

Program Description

Our research area is the structural biology of viruses and vaccine particles. One goal of the research is to understand the molecular organization of viruses in order to gain insights into virus assembly and function. Another goal is to study the organization of conserved viral epitopes on vaccine particles to help inform vaccine development. The research program exploits 3D electron microscopy of viruses and protein complexes with antibodies to obtain structural information on epitope disposition and conformational states. Structural analyses are supported by other structural, biochemical, and immunological analyses in order to understand immunogenicity,  antigen-antibody interactions and aid in structure-assisted design of nanoparticles for vaccines. A major focus is on the structure, assembly, and epitope display of influenza proteins and viral particles.

HIV gp 140 trimers

HIV gp 140 trimers

Credit: NIAID

Influenza virus particles

Influenza virus particles

Credit: NIAID


Dr. Harris received his Ph.D. in 2002 from The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Following postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, he joined the National Cancer Institute as a research fellow. In 2012, Dr. Harris was selected as an Earl Stadman Investigator and in 2013 joined the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases.

Research Group

Michael Conlon, John Gallagher, Dustin McCraw, Udana Torian

Selected Publications

Gallagher JR, Torian U, McCraw DM, Harris AK. Characterization of the disassembly and reassembly of the HBV glycoprotein surface antigen, a pliable nanoparticle vaccine platform. Virology. 2017 Feb;502:176-187.

Gallagher JR, Torian U, McCraw DM, Harris AK. Structural studies of influenza virus RNPs by electron microscopy indicate molecular contortions within NP supra-structures. J Struct Biol. 2016 Dec 19. pii: S1047-8477(16)30253-2.

Dowd KA, Ko SY, Morabito KM, Yang ES, Pelc RS, DeMaso CR, Castilho LR, Abbink P, Boyd M, Nityanandam R, Gordon DN, Gallagher JR, Chen X, Todd JP, Tsybovsky Y, Harris A, Huang YS, Higgs S, Vanlandingham DL, Andersen H, Lewis MG, De La Barrera R, Eckels KH, Jarman RG, Nason MC, Barouch DH, Roederer M, Kong WP, Mascola JR, Pierson TC, Graham BS. Rapid development of a DNA vaccine for Zika virus. Science. 2016 Oct 14;354(6309):237-40.

McCraw DM, Gallagher JR, Harris AK. Characterization of influenza vaccine hemagglutinin complexes by cryo-electron microscopy and image analyses reveals structural polymorphisms. Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2016 Jun 6;23(6):483-95.

Yassine HM, Boyington JC, McTamney PM, Wei CJ, Kanekiyo M, Kong WP, Gallagher JR, Wang L, Zhang Y, Joyce MG, Lingwood D, Moin SM, Andersen H, Okuno Y, Rao SS, Harris AK, Kwong PD, Mascola JR, Nabel GJ, Graham BS. Hemagglutinin-stem nanoparticles generate heterosubtypic influenza protection. Nat Med. 2015 Sep;21(9):1065-70.

Harris AK, Meyerson JR, Matsuoka Y, Kuybeda O, Moran A, Bliss D, Das SR, Yewdell JW, Sapiro G, Subbarao K, Subramaniam S. Structure and accessibility of HA trimers on intact 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza virus to stem region-specific neutralizing antibodies. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Mar 19;110(12):4592-7.

Visit PubMed for a complete publication listing.

Content last reviewed on February 14, 2017