Interdisciplinary Studies in Virus Research


The members of this interdisciplinary graduate group are interested in viruses and 1) Their roles in disease of microbes, plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates, 2) As models for understanding biological processes, and 3) As tools for use in therapy and nanotechnology. Viruses are ubiquitous in nature and pose a continual serious threat to the health and well-being of their hosts (e.g., HIV, herpes, influenza, avian flu, Ebola, SARS, West Nile virus). Numerous disciplines and faculty with diverse training are required for advancements in our knowledge of how viruses interact with their hosts, how these interactions can lead to disease, how viral disease can be prevented by therapeutic intervention, and how viruses can be used as 'tools' for nanotechnology and for a better understanding molecular and cellular processes as well as disease prevention. The members of this graduate group are dedicated to the use of interdisciplinary approaches in virus research, which span a wide spectrum of disciplines (e.g., structural biology, biophysics, molecular and cell biology, ecology and evolutionary biology, microbiology, pathology, and epidemiology)

One mechanism for how the members of this graduate group interact with one another is through a monthly “Research in Progress” series that gives particularly students the opportunity to discuss their dissertation research to gain experience presenting their findings and to obtain constructive feedback. Second, the participation in a distinguished lecture series (i.e., “Innovations in Virus Research” Lecture Series) exposes members of the graduate group to 3-4 external speakers annually who are invited based upon the innovative nature of their research. Graduate group members also participate in an annual symposium featuring 2 external speakers who are leading researchers in the area virus research along with graduate student oral and poster presentations.


The primary contact for this group is Louis Mansky (Diagnostic & Biological Sciences). Additional members of the leadership team are Reuben Harris (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology & Biophysics) and Michael Murtaugh (Veterinary Biomedical Sciences).





Louis Mansky

Diagnostic & Biological Sciences

Paul Bohjanen


Wade Bresnahan


Reuben Harris

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology & Biophysics

Mark Herberg

Diagnostic & Biological Sciences

James Lokensgard


Hiroshi Matsuo

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology & Biophysics

Thomas Molitor

Veterinary Population Sciences

Joachim Mueller


Michael Murtaugh

Veterinary Biomedical Sciences

Stephen Rice


Leslie Schiff


Nikunj Somia

Genetics, Cell Biology & Development

Please direct questions about interdisciplinary graduate groups to Vicki Field, Director of The Graduate School’s Office of Interdisciplinary Initiatives, or 612-625-6532.