Department of Microbiology

faculty photo

Scott Hensley, PhD

Professor of Microbiology
Department: Microbiology

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

Research Interests
-influenza virus
-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 if you are interested in joining the lab.

Lab members:

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

Selected Publications

Anderson EM, Goodwin EC, Verma A, Arevalo CP, Bolton MJ, Weirick ME, Gouma S, McAllister CM, Christensen SR, Weaver J, Hicks P, Manzoni TB, Oniyide O, Ramage H, Mathew D, Baxter AE, Oldridge DA, Greenplate AR, Wu JE, Alanio C, D'Andrea K, Kuthuru O, Dougherty J, Pattekar A, Kim J, Han N, Apostolidis SA, Huang AC, Vella LA, Kuri-Cervantes L, Pampena MB; UPenn COVID Processing Unit, Betts MR, Wherry EJ, Meyer NJ, Cherry S, Bates P, Rader DJ, Hensley SE.: Seasonal human coronavirus antibodies are boosted upon SARS-CoV-2 infection but not associated with protection. Cell 184, April 2021.

Flannery DD, Gouma S, Dhudasia MB, Mukhopadhyay S, Pfeifer MR, Woodford EC, Triebwasser JE, Gerber JS, Morris JS, Weirick ME, McAllister CM, Bolton MJ, Arevalo CP, Anderson EM, Goodwin EC, Hensley SE, Puopolo KM.: Assessment of Maternal and Neonatal Cord Blood SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies and Placental Transfer Ratios. JAMA Pediatrics 2021.

Anderson EM, Diorio C, Goodwin EC, McNerney KO, Weirick ME, Gouma S, Bolton MJ, Arevalo CP, Chase J, Hicks P, Manzoni TB, Baxter AE, Andrea KP, Burudpakdee C, Lee JH, Vella LA, Henrickson SE, Harris RM, Wherry EJ, Bates P, Bassiri H, Behrens EM, Teachey DT, Hensley SE.: SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses in children with MIS-C and mild and severe COVID-19. J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc 2020.

Gouma S, Kim K, Weirick ME, Gumina ME, Branche A, Topham DJ, Martin ET, Monto AS, Cobey S, Hensley SE: Middle-aged individuals may be in a perpetual state of H3N2 influenza virus susceptibility. Nature communications 11(1): 4566, Sep 2020.

Flannery DD, Gouma S, Dhudasia MB, Mukhopadhyay S, Pfeifer MR, Woodford EC, Gerber JS, Arevalo CP, Bolton MJ, Weirick ME, Goodwin EC, Anderson EM, Greenplate AR, Kim J, Han N, Pattekar A, Dougherty J, Kuthuru O, Mathew D, Baxter AE, Vella LA, Weaver J, Verma A, Leite R, Morris JS, Rader DJ, Elovitz MA, Wherry EJ, Puopolo KM, Hensley SE: SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence among parturient women in Philadelphia. Science immunology 5(49), Jul 2020.

Arevalo CP, Le Sage V, Bolton MJ, Eilola T, Jones JE, Kormuth KA, Nturibi E, Balmaseda A, Gordon A, Lakdawala SS, Hensley SE: Original antigenic sin priming of influenza virus hemagglutinin stalk antibodies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 117(29): 17221-17227, Jul 2020.

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 7(1): 495-512, Sept 2020.

Worobey M, Plotkin S, Hensley SE: Influenza Vaccines Delivered in Early Childhood Could Turn Antigenic Sin into Antigenic Blessings. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives(online), Jan 2020.

Willis E, Pardi N, Parkhouse K, Mui BL, Tam YK, Weissman D, Hensley SE: Nucleoside-modified influenza mRNA vaccination partially overcomes antigen-specific maternal antibody inhibition of de novo immune responses in mice. Science Translational Medicine 12(525), Jan 2020.

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Last updated: 03/01/2021
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