College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences


cbmgThe Virology Specialization Program is directed by faculty from the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics (CBMG) but is both interdepartmental and multi-institutional. We have combined the expertise of campus faculty as well as those from local institutes to create a truly unique program that essentially spans all of virology and includes faculty working on plant, fungal, animal, and human viruses as well as prions and viroids. The program is designed to train students broadly with the goal of producing graduates that have an understanding and professional level of expertise that encompasses the full breadth of virology.

Most faculty in the Virology Specialization area are part of the Virology Training Program which is supported by a training grant from the National Institutes of Health. The Program maintains a detailed website with news about upcoming events and information for students who wish to become part of the training program. Information about program faculty and specific requirements for students is also maintained on that site.    

Graduate Program

Students with an interest in Virology should apply to the Biological Sciences (BISI) Graduate Program, specifically, to the Molecular and Cellular Biology (MOCB) concentration area.  Student in this program follow a first year program that includes core courses, laboratory rotations, and seminar attendance in the fall semester. Those that are members of the Virology Training Program also do an off-campus laboratory rotation with a program member at one of the nearby institutes during the winter break.  Training Program students also take a two-semester course, Special Topics in Virology I and II in which all program faculty present lectures relevant to their specific research areas. This gives students an opportunity to learn about the full breadth of systems used to study viral replication and gene expression, a unique facet of this training program.  

Faculty Research in Virology

Faculty were selected to participate in the Virology Training Program by virtue of their outstanding contributions to fundamental aspects of virus replication/gene expression and vaccine development as well as their commitment to training students at the predoctoral and postdoctoral levels. Two of the faculty are members of the National Academy of Science (Moss and Wickner) and two are senior editors on important virology journals - Simon (Journal of Virology) and Moss (Virology). Drs. Simon and Culver study plus sense, ssRNA viruses that infect plants; Drs. Nuss, Dinman and Wickner study fungal dsRNA viruses; Drs. DeStefano, Frederickson, and Green study plus sense, ssRNA viruses of animals; minus strand ssRNA animal viruses are studied by Drs. Perez and Salzberg; Drs. Moss and McBride study dsDNA viruses; and prions and viroids are studied by Drs. Wickner and Owen, respectively. Drs. Dinman, Moss, Freed, and DeStefano also study the HIV retrovirus. Vaccine development based on knowledge that includes virus replication mechanisms is a major strength of the program, with Drs. Green, Moss, Dinman, and Perez active in this research area.  All Virology Training Program faculty are funded through NIH, NSF, USDA, or intramural or other government programs.  From more information about the specific research areas of the faculty please see the Virology Training Program site.

Graduate Courses that are pertinent to the Virology Specialization

Note: All core and elective courses are 7 weeks each except Special Topics in Virology I and II and Bioethics which meet once a week for the entire semester. All CBMG students are required to take all 4 core courses and 3 electives. See the Virology Training Program site for more information on specific requirements students in that program.

  • CBMG688D: Cell Biology I, Structure and Function 
  • CBMG688D: Cell Biology II, Signal Transduction 
  • CBMG688F: Genetics I, Gene Expression 
  • CBMG688I: Genetics II 
  • CBMG688W: Techniques in Microscopy
  • CBMG688J: Immunology and Host Defense

Faculty in Virology

James Culver, Affiliate Professor, Center for Biosystems Research, UMBI
Ph.D. University of California, Riverside 1991. Molecular plant-virus interactions; virion assembly, replication, and long-distance movement of tobacco mosaic virus.
Jeffrey DeStefano, Professor
Ph.D. University of Connecticut, 1990. Mechanism of retroviral reverse transcriptases as it relates to replication and recombination.
Jonathan Dinman, Professor
Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University, 1988. Immunology and Infectious Diseases: Virology, Ribosome Structure & Function and Regulation of Gene Expression.
Brenda L. Fredericksen, Assistant Professor
Ph.D. University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 1997. Viral-host interactions, Defining the molecular mechanism(s) by which flaviviruses evade and/or block the host innate antiviral response, Molecular and cellular mechanisms of pathogenesis of flaviviruses, Model systems include West Nile virus, Kunjin and dengue virus.
Eric O. Freed, Adjunct Professor, Chief, Virus-Cell Interaction Section-NIH
HIV-1 assembly, release, and maturation.
Kim Green, Adjunct Associate Professor, Senior Investigator, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases-NIH
Molecular studies of viral agents of gastroenteritis; relating to epidemiology and vaccine development; replication of Calciviruses.
Alison McBride, Adjunct Professor, Head, DNA Tumor Virology Section-NIH
Papillomavirus Replication and gene expression.  Virus-cell interaction and regulation of viral transmission in dividing cells.
Bernard Moss, Adjunct Professor, Chief, Laboratory of Viral Diseases-NIH
Poxvirus-host interactions; viral DNA replication; recombinant vaccines and gene therapy; assembly of virions; structure and function of the HIV envelope protein.
Donald Nuss, Adjunct Professor, Center for Biosystems Research, UMBI
Ph.D. University of New Hampsshire, 1973. Exploiting RNA viruses of the genus Hypovirus to enhance biocontrol potential; identification and dissection of signal transduction pathways involved in fungal pathogenesisn.
Robert Owens, Adjunct Senior Research Scientist, Research Chemist, Molecular Plant Pathology Laboratory-USDA Viroids and other subviral RNAs; molecular mechanisms of viroid replication and pathogenicity; relationship between RNA structure and biological function.
Daniel Perez, Affiliate Associate Professor
Ph.D. University of  Nebraska-Lincoln, Pathogenicity of Influenza Virus.
Anne Simon, Professor
Ph.D. Indiana University, 1983. Molecular biology of plant-virus interactions
Reed Wickner, Adjunct Professor, Chief, Laboratory of Biochemistry and Genetics-NIH
Genetics, molecular biology, and biochemistry of prions, dsRNA viruses, and naked ssRNA replicons of yeast.