Professor of Molecular Microbiology and BJC Investigator

Our goal is to understand how different components of a virus population affect the infected organism and how this interaction influences the virus evolution and its maintenance in nature.

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Current Positions (2020 – )

  • Professor and BJC Investigator, Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.
  • Member Center for Women’s Infectious Disease Research (cWIDR), Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.
  • Member of Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis Program and Immunology Program, Division of Biologiy & Biomedical Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.

1989 – 1992        
B.S. in Biochemistry, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago.

1993 – 1995        
M.Sc. in Biochemistry and Professional title of Biochemist, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago.

1997 – 2002        
Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences. Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY. Title: Dendritic Cells in the Initiation of Immune Responses in Mice. Advisor: Thomas Moran, PhD.

2002 – 2005        
Postdoctoral Fellow Department of Microbiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY.

Previous Positions

1996 – 1997        
Research Assistant Department of Cell Biology, New York University, NY.

2005 – 2010
Assistant Professor (research track). Department of Microbiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY.

2010 – 2016        
Assistant Professor (tenure track). Department of Pathobiology. University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.

2016 – 2020        
Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology (tenured). Department of Pathobiology. University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Other Appointments

2010 – 2020        
Member, Institute for Immunology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

2010 – 2020        
Member, Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Group and Immunology Graduate Group, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Biomedical Graduate Studies.

2018 – 2019        
Visiting Professor, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.

Honors and Awards

2003 – 2005        
Revson Fellowship Award. Charles H. Revson Foundation. USA. (Postdoctoral support)

Herrenhausen Symposium on Viral Pathogenesis (Nature Conferences closed event), Seeon, Germany, June 4-7. One of 15 selected attendees. All costs covered.

2012 – 2016        
Conferences/Travel Junior investigator Awards: Keystone Symposia Early Career Investigator Travel Awards (2012-2014); AAI Early Career Faculty Travel Grant IMMUNOLOGY 2011TM and 2014TM; Carl Storm Underrepresented Minority Fellowship for Gordon Research Conferences (GRC) (2016).

Zoetis Award for Research Excellence.

The American Association of Immunology. Careers in Immunology Award (one year funding for a postdoctoral fellow).            

Penn’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF) and Provost’s Office Award for Faculty Mentoring Undergraduate Research in recognition of sustained commitment to mentoring undergraduates doing research.

2017 – 2018        
Penn Fellow

2018 – 2019        
Fulbright US Scholar Award

2020 –                 
BJC Investigator at Washington University in St. Louis.

Professional Societies and Organizations

2002 –                 
Member, The American Association of Immunologists / Committee on the Status of Women 2012 – 2015) / Career Advisory Board (2015) / Program Committee (2017 – 2020)

2014 –                 
Member, International Cytokine and Interferon Society / Scientific Advisory Board (2018)

2015 –                 
Member, The American Society for Microbiology / Host Microbial Biology (HMB) Strategic Planning Retreat (2018) / Chair of the Immunology (E) Division and ASM Council on Microbial Sciences (2017 – 2020).

2016 –                 
Member, American Society for Virology

Editorial Roles

Guest Editor Special Issue: Virus Budding/Host Interactions. Advances in Virology.

2014 – 2018        
Guest Editor PLOS Pathogens (n = 8)

2018 –                 
Associate Editor PLOS Pathogens

2020 –                 
Section Editor Journal of Immunology

Current National and International Panels, Committees and Boards

Study Section Member

2018 – 2024        
NIH VIRB Study Section

Ad hoc Grant Reviewing International

Wellcome Trust. Reviewer for Training Fellowship, UK.

2008 – 2010        
External ad-hoc reviewer for the National Fund for Scientific & Technological Development, Chile.

Research Grants Council, Hong Kong.

Wellcome Trust. Reviewer for Investigator Awards, UK.

Medical Research Council (MRC). Reviewer for New Investigator Research Grant, UK.

Ad hoc Grant Reviewing National

National Science Foundation.

U.S. Army Research Office.

NIH study sectionZRG1 IDM-B (50).

American Heart Association. Immunology BSc1.

NIH special emphasis panel ZAI1-MM-IC1.

NIH Human Immunology Project Consortium Infrastructure & Opportunity Fund Project Proposal.

NIH study section ZRG1 IDM-B (02)

2015 – 2016        
NIGMS IDeA Alaska INBRE program

NIH study section ZAI1 EC-M (J1) 1 “Rapid Assessment of Zika Virus Complications (R21)”

NIH study section ZAI1 NVM-I (J1) 1 “Infant immunity”

2016 – 2017        
NIH study section VIRB.

NIH study section ZRG1 IDM-W (05)

Ad hoc Reviewer for Journals

Archives in Virology, Autophagy, BMC Microbiology, Cell, Cell Host & Microbes, Cell Reports, eLife, Future Drugs, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Journal of General Virology, Journal of Infection, Journal of Virological Methods, Microbes and Infection, Mucosal Immunology, Nature Communications, Nature Reviews Microbiology, PLOS Biology, PLOS Pathogens, Respiratory Research, RNA, Science, Stem Cells Translational Medicine, The Journal of Immunology, The Journal of Virology, Vaccine, Viral Immunology, Viruses.

Advisory Boards

2017 – 2019        
Advisory Board member SACNA (Society for Advancement of Hispanic/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) Chapter at the University of Pennsylvania.       

2016 – present    
Advisory Board member Brown University Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) Program External.

Meeting Organizing and session Chairs

Organizer and Chair. Center for Investigating Viral Immunity and Antagonism Forth Annual Symposium, Mount Sinai Medical Center, NY.

Chair Block Symposium Immune Responses to Respiratory Viruses. IMMUNOLOGY 2011TM.

Organizing Committee Center for Host-Microbial Interactions Annual Symposium. UPenn.

Chair and Introduction Anti-Viral Immunity Session Keystone Viral Immunity meeting.

Convener for workshop “Virus-Host Interactions: Negative Strand Viruses I.” Annual American Society of Virology (ASV) meeting, Blacksburg, VA.

Session Chair 2017 Viruses & Cells Gordon Research Conference.

Convener for workshop “Vaccines” Annual American Society of Virology (ASV) meeting, College Park, MD.

2020 – 2021        
Organizer Keystone Symposium “Respiratory Viruses: New Frontiers” (Co-organizers: Kanta Subbarao, JoAnn Suzich).

Co-organizer cWIDR virtual symposium “COVID-19, scientific advances and impact on women’s health”

Extramural and Outreach Activities

Interviewed for series Women Scientists for Nexos Chile-USA. (

Interviewed for Caminos en Ciencia, Science Diplomacy and SACNA podcast.

Interviewed for This Week in Virology (TWIV) Podcast with Vincent Racaniello, Ep. 460.

2017 –  2018       
External PhD Thesis Examiner Institut Pasteur, Paris, France. (E. Porier, 2017; M.L. Carrau, 2018)

American Society for Microbiology Host Microbial Biology (HMB) Strategic Planning Retreat.

Panelist.  Becoming Faculty: a short course on launching a scientific career of Vet students. NIH/Texas A&M University, College Station, TX. Sponsored by the BWF.

Student Interview (Ty Sornberger). Penn State Story Core Project. Viral Ecology Course.

Interviewed for the Center for Virus Research (CVR) Contagious Thinking Podcast, Glasgow, Scotland.

Interviewed for Caminos en Ciencia, Science Diplomacy and SACNA podcast. Coronavirus origin.

Interviewed for The Pulse, Health, Science and Innovation podcast, WHYY radio / NPR. How to stop an invasion, Aired April 24th, 2020.

Interviewed for the Wall Street Journal “Why Fully Recovering From Coronavirus Might Take Longer Than Expected” Video. Aired, May 6th, 2020.

Stanford Women in Politics Club Mentorship Zoom Chat

Selected Publications (2015-2020)

Primary Research

  1. SunY, JainD, Koziol-WhiteCJ, Genoyer E, Gilbert M,TapiaK, Panettieri RA, HodinkaRL, and López CB. (2015). Immunostimulatory Defective Viral Genomes Promote Strong Innate Antiviral Responses During Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection in Mice and Humans. PLOS Pathog 11(9): e1005122. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1005122. PMID: 26336095 PMCID: PMC4559413.
  2. Xu J, Mercado-López X, Grier J, Kim W, Chun L, Irvine EB, Del Toro Y, Kell A, Hur S, Gale M, Raj A, and López CB. (2015). Identification of a Natural Viral RNA Motif that Facilitates Viral Recognition by RIG-I-Like Receptors. mBio 6(5):e01265-15. doi:10.1128/mBio.01265-15. PMID: 26443454 PMCID: PMC4611036.
  3. XueJ, ChambersBS, HensleySEand López CB.(2016) Propagation and characterization of influenza virus stocks that are not loaded with defective viral genomes and hemagglutinin mutations. Front. Microbiol. 7:326 doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.0032. PMID: 27047455 PMCID: PMC4803753
  4. Sun Y, and López CB. (2016)Respiratory syncytial virus infection in mice and detection of viral genomes in the lung using RT-qPCR. Bio-protocol 6(10): e1819. PMID: 30112423 PMCID: PMC6089529.
  5. Sun Y, and López CB. (2016)Preparation of respiratory syncytial virus stocks and purification of defective viral particles. Bio-protocol 6(10): e1820. PMID: 30079370 PMCID: PMC6071672.
  6. Muallem G, Wagage S, Sun Y, DeLong JH.1, Valenzuela A, Harms Pritchard G, Christian, DA, Fang, Q, Buza E, Jain D, Elloso MM, López CB#, and Hunter CA#. (2017) IL-27 Limits Type 2 Immunopathology Following Parainfluenza Virus Infection. PLoS Pathog. 13(1): e1006173. #Co-senior authors. PMID: 28129374 PMCID: PMC5305264.
  7. Xu J, Sun Y, Li Y, Ruthel G, Weiss SR, Raj, A, Beiting D, and López CB. (2017) Replication Defective Viral Genomes Exploit A Cellular Pro-Survival Mechanism to Establish Viral Persistence. [Preprint: bioRxiv 120766]. Nature Com. Oct 6;8(1):799. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00909-6. PMID: 28986577 PMCID: PMC5630589.
  8. Fisher DG, Coppock GM, and López CB (2018) Virus-derived immunostimulatory RNA induces type I IFN-dependent antibodies and T-cell responses during vaccination. Vaccine, 36(28):4039-4045. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.05.100. PMID: 29862283 PMCID: PMC6265594.
  9. Genoyer E and López CB (2019) Distinct intracellular distribution of full-length and defective viral RNA genomes drives functional heterogeneity during infection. J. Virol. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.01579-1. PMID: 30463965 PMCID: PMC6364009.
  10. Sun Y, Kim EJ, Felt SA, TaylorLJ, Agarwal D, Grant GR, and LópezCB (2019) A specific sequence in the genome of respiratory syncytial virus regulates the generation of copy-back defective viral genomes [Preprint: bioRxiv 349001]. PloS Pathog. 15(4): e1007707
  11. García GL, Valenzuela A, Manzoni T, Vaughan A, and López CB (2020)Distinct chronic post-viral lung disease upon infection with influenza or parainfluenza viruses differentially impact superinfection outcome. Am J Pathol. 2020 Mar;190(3):543-553. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2019.11.003. Epub 2019 Dec 19. PubMed PMID: 31866346
  12. GenoyerE, KulejK, HungCT, ThibaultPA, AzarmK, TakimotoT, GarciaBA, LeeB, LakdawalaS, WeitzmanWD and López CB (2020). ­­­The Viral Polymerase Complex Mediates the Interaction of vRNPs with Recycling Endosomes During SeV Assembly. mBio, in press.
  13. (Submitted) * SunY, Felt SA, JozwikA, ParasJ, HabibiMS, AndersonL,FeemsterKA, CárdenasAM, HartertTV, SenguptaS, ChiuC, López CB (2020). Detection of defective viral genomes in nasal secretions predicts RSV disease severity in children and adults. Submitted.


  1. Sun Y and López CB. (2016) The innate immune response to RSV: Advances in our understanding of critical viral and host factors (Review). Vaccine 35(3): 481-88. PMID: 2768636 PMCID: PMC6060409.
  2. Manzoni TB and López CB. (2018) ­Defective (Interfering) Viral Genomes Re-Explored: Impact on Antiviral Immunity and Virus Persistence. Future Virology. Published online: DOI: 10.2217/fvl-2018-0021. PMID: 30245734 PMCID: PMC6136085.
  3. Genoyer, E. andpez CB. (2019) The Impact of Defective Viruses on Infection and Immunity. Ann. Rev. Virol. May 13. doi: 10.1146/annurev-virology-092818-015652. PMID: 31082310
  4. Vignuzzi M. andpez CB. (2019) Defective viral genomes are key drivers of the virus-host interaction. Nature Microbiology Jun 3. doi: 10.1038/s41564-019-0465-y. PMID:31160826


  1. López CB (2019). Unexpected lessons from the neglected: how defective viral genomes became important again. Research Matters, PLoS Pathog, 15(1):e1007450.

Contact Information

Department of Molecular Microbiology
Washington University School of Medicine
425 S Euclid Ave, St. Louis, MO 6311

10th Floor BJCIH #10616

Office phone: 314-273-7026
Lab phone: 314-273-7027