Herbert "Skip" Virgin IV, MD, PhD

Edward Mallinckrodt Professor, Pathology & Immunology

Additional Titles

  • Professor, Molecular Microbiology
  • Professor, Medicine

Research Interests

Our laboratory focuses on the host/pathogen/symbiote interface paying particular attention to mechanisms that operate in vivo. We study host pathways, such as autophagy and interferon responses, identified as important for human disease susceptibility or resistance in mice and humans. Our primary interest has been in chronic virus infection and the virome, but we also study bacterial, helminth, and apicomplexan pathogens and commensals. We use genetic, computational, next-generation sequencing, and structural methods to define the mechanisms and pathways that control disease pathogenesis and immunity. We defined the genetic test of host complementation to identify molecular mechanisms of immune evasion in vivo, discovered the first murine norovirus, developed the first culture system for a norovirus, and demonstrated that herpesviruses can confer symbiotic advantages to their hosts. In recent work we have focused on the role of interferon and both canonical and non-degradative functions of autophagy proteins in innate and adaptive immunity, pathogen resistance, and protein secretion. We have developed next generation sequencing technologies to define the virome, and used them to identify potential physiologic roles for the virome in diseases including inflammatory bowel disease and AIDS enteropathy. Editorial Responsibilities

Editorial Responsibilities

2010 – Present Board of Reviewing Editors Science
2010 – Present Editorial Board mBio
2006 – Present Editorial Board Cell Host & Microbe
2005 – Present Editorial Board PLoS Biology

Service to the University

2006 – Present Siteman Cancer Center Leadership Council, Washington University
2006 – Present Faculty Practice Plan Clinical Practice Committee
2006 – Present Research Affairs Committee
2006 – Present Medical Executive Committee, Barnes-Jewish Hospital
2006 – Present Preclinical Chiefs Committee, Washington University School of Medicine
1999 – Present Immunology Program Steering Committee

DBBS Graduate Program Affiliation

  • Immunology Program
  • Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis Program
  • Human and Statistical Genetics Program

Diagnostic Expertise

  • Pathogen Discovery


Pub Med Search

Schoggins, J.W. D. A. MacDuff, N. Imanaka, M. D. Gainey, B. Shrestha, … , A. Garcia-Sastre, V. Racaniello, E. J. Snijder, W. M. Yokoyama, M. S. Diamond, H. W. Virgin, C. M. Rice. Pan-viral specificity of IFN-induced genes reveals new roles for cGAS in innate immunity. Nature. 505:691-5, 2014 Abstract
Reese, T. A., B. S. Wakeman, H. S. Choi, M. M. Hufford, S. C.C. Huang, X. Zhang, M. D. Buck, A. Jezewski, A. Kambal, C. Y. Liu, G. Goel, P. J. Murray, R. J. Xavier, M. H. Kaplan, R. Renne, S. H. Speck, M. N. Artyomov, E. J. Pearce, and H. W. Virgin. Helminth Co-infection Reactivates Gammaherpesvirus Infection Through Viral Promoter-targeted Cytokine Competition. Science. In Press., 2014 Abstract
Canny, S. P., T. A. Reese, L. S. Johnson, X. Zhang, A. Kambal, E. Duan, C.Y. Liu, and H. W. Virgin.. Pervasive transcription of a herpesvirus genome generates functionally important RNAs. mBio. 5(2):e01033-13, 2014 Abstract
Choi, J., S. Park, S. B. Biering, E. Selleck, C. Y. Liu, X. Zhang, N. Fujita, T. Saitoh, S. Akira, T. Yoshimori, L. D. Sibley, S. Hwang, H. W. Virgin. The Parasitophorous Vacuole Membrane of Toxoplasma gondii is Targeted for Disruption by Ubiquitin-like Conjugation Systems of Autophagy. Immunity. 40(6)924-35, 2014 Abstract
Virgin, H. W.. The virome in mammalian physiology and disease. Cell. 157(1):142-150, 2014Abstract
Handley, S., L. B. Thackray, G. Zhao, R. Presti, A. Miller, L. Droit, P. Abbink, L. F. Maxfield, A. Kambal, E. Duan, J. Kramer, S. C. Macri, S. R. Permar, J. E. Schmitz, K. Mansfield, J. Brenchley, R. S. Veazey, T. S. Stappenbeck, D. Wang, D. H. Baro. Pathogenic simian immunodeficiency virus infection is associated with significant expansion of the enteric virome.. Cell. 151:253-266, 2012Abstract
Virgin, H. W., and J. A. Todd. Metagenomics and Personalized Medicine. Cell. 147(1):44-56, 2011Abstract
Virgin HW, Walker BD. Immunology and the elusive AIDS vaccine. Nature 464:224-231, 2010Abstract
Cadwell KK, Patel K, Maloney NS, Liu TC, Ng ACY, Storer CE, Head RD, Xavier R, Stappenbeck TS, Virgin HW. Virus plus susceptibility gene interaction determines intestinal phenotypes of the Crohn. Cell. 141(7): 1135-45, 2010 Abstract
Virgin HW, Wherry EJ, Ahmed R. Redefning Chronic Viral Infection. Cell 138: 30-50, 2009 Abstract
Virgin HW, Levine B. Autophagy Genes in Immunity. Nature Immunology 10: 461-70, 2009Abstract
Cadwell K, Liu JY, Brown SL, Miyoshi H, Loh J, Lennerz JK, Kishi C, Kc W, Carrero JA, Hunt SA, Stone CD, Brunt EM, Xavier RJ, Sleckman BP, Li E, Mizushima N, Stappenbeck TS, Virgin HW. A key role for autophagy and the autophagy gene Atg16L1 in murine and human intestinal Paneth cells. Nature 456:259-263, 2008 Abstract
Zhao Z, Fux B, Goodwin M, Dunay IR, Strong D, Miller BC, Cadwell K, Delgado-Vargas M, Ponpuak N, Green KG, Schmidt RE, Mizushima N, Deretic V, Sibley LD, Virgin HW.Autophagosome-independent essential function for the autophagy protein Atg5 in cellular immunity to intracellular pathogens. Cell Host and Microbe 4:458-69, 2008 Abstract
Barton ES, White DW, Cathelyn JS, Brett-McClellan KA, Engle M, Diamond MS, Miller VL, Virgin HW. Herpesvirus latency confers symbiotic protection from bacterial infection. Nature 447:326-329, 2007 Abstract
Wobus CE, Karst SM, Thackray LB, Chang KO, Sosnovtsev SV, Belliot G, Krug A, Mackenzie JM, Green KY, Virgin HW. Replication of Norovirus in cell culture reveals a tropism for dendritic cells and macrophages. PLoS Biol 2:e432, 2004 Abstract
Karst SM, Wobus CE, Lay M, Davidson J, Virgin HW. STAT1-Dependent Immunity to a Norwalk-Like Virus. Science 299:1575-1578, 2003 Abstract
Leib DA, Machalek MA, Williams BR, Silverman RH, Virgin HW. Specific phenotypic restoration of an attenuated virus by knockout of a host resistance gene. PNAS 97:6097-6101, 2000 Abstract

Lab Phone: 314-362-9224
Office Location: CSRB, Room 8849