Viral Pathogenesis and Evolution Section
Established in 2006
Jeffery Taubenberger, M.D., Ph.D.
Chief, Viral Pathogenesis and Evolution Section
Specialty(s): Infectious Disease, Pathology, Medical Microbiology
Major Areas of Research
- Influenza virus and coronavirus pathogenesis
- Animal models of influenza and coronavirus infection
- Influenza virus and coronavirus genomics and evolution
- Development of broadly protective ‘universal’ influenza and coronavirus vaccines
- Viral surveillance
- Archaevirology and archaebacteriology
- Clinical influenza research
The Viral Pathogenesis and Evolution Section seeks to address fundamental questions of influenza virus pathogenesis in different animal hosts, including the mapping of viral virulence factors and mutations associated with host adaptation, as well as characterizing the host response to infection. The role of secondary bacterial infections in influenza infection is being examined. Experiments are also being performed to evaluate novel therapeutics for the treatment of severe influenza and to evaluate the significance of heterosubtypic and heterotypic immunity to influenza viral antigens to develop broadly protective ‘universal’ influenza vaccines.
Since completing the sequencing of the 1918 pandemic viral genome, the section has maintained an interest in archaevirology and is characterizing pre- and post-1918 influenza virus genomes from archival samples. The section studies viral evolution and fitness through the development of improved viral surveillance and genomics. These efforts employ both in vitro assays and experimental animal model systems. These studies seek to understand the dynamics of viral evolution in different hosts, including birds, mammals, and the evolutionary dynamics of human pandemic and seasonal influenza viruses. The section also performs translational research involving clinical trials addressing pandemic and seasonal influenza viral infections in patients and human influenza volunteer challenge studies. These investigations include characterization of the development of antiviral resistance mutations, intra-host viral evolution, and characterization of the host immune response. Postmortem examinations of lung tissue from fatal cases of pandemic and seasonal influenza and coronavirus are employed to understand the development of severe influenza viral disease in humans.
The section continues its research in collaboration with Dr. Matthew Memoli and the Clinical Studies unit in human volunteer influenza virus challenge studies. Finally, the section continues to develop novel molecular genetic assays for influenza viruses for diagnosis, surveillance, and mutation screening. Since 2020, the section has been studying basic pathogenesis of the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and is working to develop broadly-protective coronavirus vaccines in pre-clinical animal studies.
Together, such investigations will help shed light on the emergence, evolution, and severity of respiratory viral pandemics as well as endemic/epidemic influenza and coronavirus.
M.D., 1986, Ph.D., 1987, Medical College of Virginia
B.S., 1982, George Mason University
Dr. Taubenberger received a B.S. in biology from George Mason University in 1982. He earned his medical degree in 1986 and his Ph.D. in 1987, both from the Medical College of Virginia. He completed a residency in pathology at the National Cancer Institute and holds dual board certifications in anatomic pathology and in molecular genetic pathology from the American Board of Pathology and the American Board of Medical Genetics. Prior to coming to NIAID in 2006, he served as chair of the Department of Molecular Pathology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, DC, a position he held since 1994. Dr. Taubenberger’s research interests include influenza virus and coronavirus biology, evolution, pathophysiology, clinical research, and influenza and coronavirus vaccine development.
D'Agnillo F, Walters KA, Xiao Y, Sheng ZM, Scherler K, Park J, Gygli S, Rosas LA, Sadtler K, Kalish H, Blatti CA 3rd, Zhu R, Gatzke L, Bushell C, Memoli MJ, O'Day SJ, Fischer TD, Hammond TC, Lee RC, Cash JC, Powers ME, O'Keefe GE, Butnor KJ, Rapkiewicz AV, Travis WD, Layne SP, Kash JC, Taubenberger JK. Lung epithelial and endothelial damage, loss of tissue repair, inhibition of fibrinolysis, and cellular senescence in fatal COVID-19. Sci Transl Med. 2021 Nov 17;13(620):eabj7790.
Park JK, Xiao Y, Ramuta MD, Rosas LA, Fong S, Matthews AM, Freeman AD, Gouzoulis MA, Batchenkova NA, Yang X, Scherler K, Qi L, Reed S, Athota R, Czajkowski L, Han A, Morens DM, Walters KA, Memoli MJ, Kash JC, Taubenberger JK. Pre-existing immunity to influenza virus hemagglutinin stalk might drive selection for antibody-escape mutant viruses in a human challenge model. Nat Med. 2020 Aug;26(8):1240-1246.
Taubenberger JK, Kash JC, Morens DM. The 1918 influenza pandemic: 100 years of questions answered and unanswered. Sci Transl Med. 2019 Jul 24;11(502):eaau5485.
Walters KA, Zhu R, Welge M, Scherler K, Park JK, Rahil Z, Wang H, Auvil L, Bushell C, Lee MY, Baxter D, Bristol T, Rosas LA, Cervantes-Medina A, Czajkowski L, Han A, Memoli MJ, Taubenberger JK, Kash JC. Differential Effects of Influenza Virus NA, HA Head, and HA Stalk Antibodies on Peripheral Blood Leukocyte Gene Expression during Human Infection. mBio. 2019 May 14;10(3):e00760-19.
Kash JC, Walters KA, Kindrachuk J, Baxter D, Scherler K, Janosko KB, Adams RD, Herbert AS, James RM, Stonier SW, Memoli MJ, Dye JM, Davey RT Jr, Chertow DS, Taubenberger JK. Longitudinal peripheral blood transcriptional analysis of a patient with severe Ebola virus disease. Sci Transl Med. 2017 Apr 12;9(385):eaai9321.
Walters KA, D'Agnillo F, Sheng ZM, Kindrachuk J, Schwartzman LM, Kuestner RE, Chertow DS, Golding BT, Taubenberger JK, Kash JC. 1918 pandemic influenza virus and Streptococcus pneumoniae co-infection results in activation of coagulation and widespread pulmonary thrombosis in mice and humans. J Pathol. 2016 Jan;238(1):85-97.
Rani Athota; Tyler Bristol; Lindsay Czajkowski; Amanda Donaldson; Alison Han; Gerry Jin; John Kash; Jessica Manning; Matthew Memoli, M.D., M.S.; Jaekeun Park; Li Qi, Ph.D.; Angela Rosas; Susan Reed; Louis Schwartzman; Yongli Xiao; Xingdong Yang