Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Penn Institute for Immunology

Scott Hensley

faculty photo
Associate Professor of Microbiology
Department: Microbiology
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
402A Johnson Pavilion
3610 Hamilton Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-573-3756
Lab: 215-573-3877
Education:
BA (Biology)
University of Delaware, 2000.
PhD (Cell and Molecular Biology)
University of Pennsylvania, 2006.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
-influenza virus
-SARS-CoV-2
-antibodies
-antigenic drift

Key words: Influenza virus, SARS-CoV-2, antigenic drift, viral pathogenesis, viral receptors, antibody specificity, vaccines

Description of Research

Seasonal influenza viruses pose a major threat to the human population, contributing to over 30,000 annual deaths in the United States alone. Influenza viruses rapidly escape pre-existing humoral immunity by accumulating mutations in the viral surface proteins hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). This process, termed “antigenic drift”, creates antigenically distinct viruses, making it difficult to predict which types of viruses will predominate during any given flu season. Antigenic drift is a problem for vaccine manufacturers.

The Hensley laboratory has 3 major scientific focuses related to influenza viruses: 1) elucidating mechanisms that promote antigenic drift of influenza viruses, 2) identifying factors that influence influenza vaccine responsiveness, 3) developing new influenza vaccine platforms. Our overarching goals are to use basic immunological and virological approaches to improve the process by which influenza vaccine strains are chosen, and to develop new influenza vaccines that are protective against antigenically diverse influenza strains.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hensley laboratory is completing serological assays to identify individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2. Additional experiments are being completed to measure the durability and functionality of antibody responses elicited by SARS-CoV-2 in different individuals.

It is an exciting time to study viral immunology, and enthusiastic undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral fellows should email hensley@pennmedicine.upenn.edu if you are interested in joining the lab.

Lab members:

Shannon Barbour (PhD student/MVP)
Claudia Arevalo (PhD student/IGG)
Marcus Bolton (PhD student/MVP)
Eileen Goodwin (PhD student/IGG)
Sigrid Gouma (postdoc)
Liz Anderson (postdoc)
Nicole Tanenbaum (undergraduate)
Theresa Eilola (Research assistant)
Madison Weirick (Research assistant)
Christopher McAllister (Research assistant)

Selected Publications

Gouma S, Weirick M, Hensley SE. : Antigenic assessment of the H3N2 component of the 2019-2020 Northern Hemisphere influenza vaccine. Nature Communications 11(2445 ), 2020.

Gouma S, Anderson EM, Hensley SE.: Challenges of making effective influenza vaccines. Annual Review in Virology in press Notes: Annual Review in Virology (in press).

Worobey Michael, Plotkin Stanley, Hensley Scott E: Influenza Vaccines Delivered in Early Childhood Could Turn Antigenic Sin into Antigenic Blessings. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives(online), Jan 2020.

Willis Elinor, Pardi Norbert, Parkhouse Kaela, Mui Barbara L, Tam Ying K, Weissman Drew, Hensley Scott E: Nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccination partially overcomes maternal antibody inhibition of de novo immune responses in mice. Science Translational Medicine 12(525), Jan 2020.

Zost Seth J, Lee Juhye, Gumina Megan E, Parkhouse Kaela, Henry Carole, Wu Nicholas C, Lee Chang-Chun D, Wilson Ian A, Wilson Patrick C, Bloom Jesse D, Hensley Scott E: Identification of Antibodies Targeting the H3N2 Hemagglutinin Receptor Binding Site following Vaccination of Humans. Cell Reports 29(13): 4460-4470.e8, Dec 2019.

Gouma Sigrid, Zost Seth J, Parkhouse Kaela, Branche Angela, Topham David J, Cobey Sarah, Hensley Scott E: Comparison of human H3N2 antibody responses elicited by egg-based, cell-based, and recombinant protein-based influenza vaccines during the 2017-2018 season. Clinical Infectious Diseases Oct 2019.

Gouma Sigrid, Weirick Madison, Hensley Scott E: Potential antigenic mismatch of the H3N2 component of the 2019 Southern Hemisphere influenza vaccine. Clinical Infectious Diseases Aug 2019.

Christensen Shannon R, Toulmin Sushila A, Griesman Trevor, Lamerato Lois E, Petrie Joshua G, Martin Emily T, Monto Arnold S, Hensley Scott E: Assessing the Protective Potential of H1N1 Influenza Virus Hemagglutinin Head and Stalk Antibodies in Humans. Journal of Virology 93(8), Apr 2019.

#Zost Seth J, #Wu Nicholas C, *Hensley Scott E, *Wilson Ian A: Immunodominance and Antigenic Variation of Influenza Virus Hemagglutinin: Implications for Design of Universal Vaccine Immunogens. The Journal of Infectious Diseases 219(Supplement_1): S38-S45, Apr 2019.

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Last updated: 06/02/2020
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