Department of Microbiology

Training Program in Virology

Training Sites:

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Wistar Institute

Viral infectious diseases remain an important cause of human morbidity and mortality. Virology has long been a significant strength at the University of Pennsylvania. This NIH sponsored program trains outstanding graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in experimental virology preparing them to become scientific leaders in this field within the academic community, research institutes, and pharmaceutical companies. The goals of this training program are:

  1. to provide trainees with a thorough background in the fundamentals of virology in the context of modern molecular biology, genetics, cell biology and immunology
  2. to provide each trainee with an intensive exposure to laboratory research, utilizing current methods in molecular and cellular biology, under the supervision of one of the 21 trainers on this grant

Students supported by the training grant work on a wide variety of DNA and RNA viruses, including animal and human herpes viruses, retroviruses, arenaviruses such as LCMV and Junin, human and murine coronaviruses, adeno, adeno-associated, Coxsackie, filo, influenza, pox, and rhabdo viruses, and arthropod-borne RNA viruses, including the flavivirus West Nile virus, the alphavirus Sindbis and the bunyavirus Rift Valley Fever virus. Research at the host-pathogen interface includes analysis of innate, intrinsic and adaptive responses as well as host genetic requirements. For students, selection of a dissertation laboratory is preceded by three laboratory rotations. Training also includes more formal lecture and seminar-style courses taken in the first two years of graduate school. The faculty in this program constitute a close-knit group which interacts regularly with the trainees and with each other. The training grant organizes a highly popular weekly training seminar at which the trainees from each investigator's laboratory present their work and camaraderie is established and maintained. This informal seminar provides the trainees with excellent experience in oral presentation and helps the faculty keep track of the progress of each trainee. Virology related training is supplemented by a number of seminar series, conferences, and retreats. Trainees also receive training in ethical and responsible conduct in research.


Predoctoral trainees must be admitted to candidacy for the PhD degree in one of the graduate groups that comprise the Biomedical Graduate Studies program at Penn. For information on applying contact BGS or visit the web sites listed below.

University of Pennsylvania
421 Curie Boulevard
160 Biomedical Research Building (BRB) 2/3
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6064
Telephone: (215) 898-1030
FAX: (215) 898-2671

Confocal microscopic image of Vero E6 cells producing viral matrix protein (red) and viral glycoproteins (green). Areas of overlap and virus assembly appear yellow. Nuclei are stained with DAPI (blue). Image courtesy of Sarah McCarthy & Ron Harty.


Interested postdoctoral candidates should contact trainers directly and also send curriculum vitae and three letters of reference to:

Paul Bates, PhD
University of Pennsylvania
Perelman School of Medicine
Department of Microbiology
225 Johnson Pavilion
3610 Hamilton Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6076



  • James C. Alwine, PhD, Cancer Biology, School of Medicine. DNA viral infection induced alterations in cellular signaling.
  • Paul Bates, PhD, Microbiology, School of Medicine. Virus host interactions retroviruses, bunyaviruses, coronaviruses and the host intrinsic immunity factor Tetherin.
  • Jeffrey Bergelson, MD, Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Virus entry, adenovirus, coxsackievirus, viral pathogenesis, and virus receptors.
  • Frederic Bushman, PhD, Microbiology, School of Medicine. Transfer of genetic information between cells and organisms. HIV integration, Poxvirus replication.
  • Kyong-Mi Chang, MD, Gastroenterology, School of Medicine. Immune response to Hepatitis C virus infection.
  • Sara Cherry, PhD, Microbiology, School of Medicine.  Cellular factors that regulate viral pathogenesis, arthropod borne viruses.
  • Gary H. Cohen, PhD, Microbiology, School of Dental Medicine. Herpes virus entry, structural analysis of viral glycoproteins & receptors.
  • Ronald N. Harty, PhD., Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine.  Molecular mechanisms of negative-sense RNA virus assembly/budding, Ebola, VSV.
  • Scott Hensley, PhD, Immunology, Wistar Institute. Influenza virus evasion of host immune responses.
  • Stuart N. Isaacs, MD, Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine. Poxviral replication and host interactions.
  • Paul M. Lieberman, PhD, Wistar Institute. Epstein Barr Virus replication and mechanisms of viral genome stability and control of viral latency.
  • Carolina Lopez, PhD, Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine. Innate immunity, virus-host interactions.
  • Susan R. Ross, PhD, Microbiology, School of Medicine. Virus/host interactions; MMTV; areanviruses; genetics of susceptibility to virus infection.
  • George Shaw, MD, PhD, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine. Hepatitis C virus pathogenesis and evolution.
  • Susan R. Weiss, PhD, Microbiology, School of Medicine. Pathogenesis and replication of murine coronavirus and SARS coronavirus.
  • Matt Weitzman, PhD, Infectious Diseases, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Cellular host responses to virus infection and the environment encountered and manipulated by viruses.
  • John Wherry, PhD, Microbiology, School of Medicine. Immune regulatory mechanisms during chronic viral infections.
  • Jianxin You, PhD, Microbiology, School of Medicine. Human papillomaviruses-host interaction during persistent latent infection.
  • Yan Yuan, PhD, Microbiology, School of Dental Medicine. Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus, virus-host interaction, microRNAs.

More information about research programs of the trainers can be found on our Virology research page.

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