Sita Awasthi, Ph.D.

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Research Associate Professor of Medicine
Department: Medicine

Contact information
522F Johnson Pavilion
3610 Hamilton Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-573-8422
Fax: 215-349-5111
Lab: 215-573-8444
BS (Biology and Chemistry )
Devi Ahilya University, Indore, India , 1982.
MS (Biochemistry)
Devi Ahilya University, Indore, India , 1984.
PhD (Biochemistry)
Devi Ahilya University, Indore, India , 1989.
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Description of Research Expertise

Major focus of my research are
1. Development of genital herpes vaccine
2. Development of new animal models, or modulation of existing animal models to learn and evaluate treatment and prevention options for genital herpes, and HIV co-infections.
3. Point of Care diagnostic for HSV-2 infections for resource limited settings.


Expertise in vaccine development.
General virology techniques including, production, purification and titration of virus.
Strategy to create mutant viruses and in-vivo evaluation.
Expertise in development of animal models for evaluation of infectious agents and vaccines.
Developed humanized mouse model for HSV-2 genital infections.
Evaluation of immune responses.
Evaluation and blocking of evasion of host immune response.

Selected Publications

Patel CD, Taylor SA, Mehrbach J, Awasthi S, Friedman H M, Leib DA.: Trivalent Glycoprotein Subunit Vaccine Prevents Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Mortality and Morbidity. J Virol 94: e02163-19, May 2020.

Egan K, Hook, LM, Naughton A, Friedman H M, Awasthi S. : Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Trivalent Protein Vaccine Containing Glycoproteins C, D and E Protects Guinea Pigs Against HSV-1 Genital Infection. Hum Vaccin Immunother online, ahead of publication (eds.). 5: doi: 10.1080/21645515.2020.1749509, April 2020.

Awasthi, S, Hook, L. M. Pardi, Norbert Wang, Fushan Myles, Arpita Cancro, Michael P., Cohen Gary H., Weissman, Drew Friedman, Harvey M.: Nucleoside-modified mRNA encoding HSV-2 glycoproteins C, D, and E prevents clinical and subclinical genital herpes. Science Immunology 4: 7083, September 2019.

David I. Bernstein, Rhonda D. Cardin, Fernando J. Bravo, Sita Awasthi, Peiwen Lu, Derek A. Pullum, David A. Dixon, Akiko Iwasaki & Harvey M. Friedman : Successful application of prime and pull strategy for a therapeutic HSV vaccine. Nature Partnership Journal Vaccines 4: 33, August 2019.

Awasthi S, Hook LM, Swaminathan G, Cairns TM, Brooks B, Smith JS, Ditto NT, Gindy ME, Bett AJ, Espeseth AS, Cohen GH, Friedman HM.: Antibody responses to crucial functional epitopes as a novel approach to assess immunogenicity of vaccine adjuvants. Vaccine Journal. Elsiver, 37: 3770-3778, May 2019.

Lauren M Hook, Sita Awasthi, Jonathan Dubin, Jessica Flechtner, Deborah Long, Harvey M. Friedman: A trivalent gC2/gD2/gE2 vaccine for herpes simplex virus generates antibody responses that block immune evasion domains on gC2 better than natural infection. Vaccine 37: 664-669, January 2019.

Hook LM, Cairns TM, Awasthi S, Brooks BD, Ditto NT, Eisenberg RJ, Cohen GH, Friedman HM: Vaccine-induced antibodies to herpes simplex virus glycoprotein D epitopes involved in virus entry and cell-to-cell spread correlate with protection against genital disease in guinea pigs. PLoS Pathogen 14: e1007095, May 2018

Wang S, Mott KR, Cilluffo M, Kilpatrick CL, Murakami S, Ljubimov AV, Kousoulas KG, Awasthi S, Luscher B, Ghiasi H: The Absence of DHHC3 Affects Primary and Latent Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Infection. J Virol 92(4): e01599-17, February 2018.

Awasthi S., Hook L. M.,Shaw C.E. and Friedman H. M. : A trivalent subunit antigen glycoprotein vaccine as immunotherapy for genital herpes in the guinea pig genital infection model. Human Vaccine Immunotherapy 8: 1-9, May 2017.

Awasthi S, Friedman HM: Molecular association of herpes simplex virus type 1 glycoprotein E with membrane protein Us9. Archives of Virology 161(11): 3203-13, Nov 2016.

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Last updated: 06/15/2020
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