Mike Diamond

Lecture Title: Innate immune signaling pathways control Zika virus infection in the placenta and viral persistence in the mother

Dr. Diamond’s laboratory studies the molecular basis of disease of globally emerging RNA viruses, and focuses on the interface between pathogenesis and host immunity. He identified many of the key innate and adaptive immune system components that define protection against flaviviruses, and the viral genes that antagonize this response. His laboratory made a seminal discovery by identifying a novel pathogen-associated molecular pattern (lack of 2′-O methylation on the 5′ viral RNA cap) and mechanism of innate immune restriction through IFIT1 proteins. His group has used genome-wide screening to identify host factors required by viruses, including novel entry receptors for multiple alphaviruses of global concern. He has led the field in studying mechanisms of pathogenesis of Zika virus infection and disease including in pregnancy, and more recently studied how the microbiome modulates immunity and infection of arthropod-transmitted viruses. His group also has generated, characterized, and mapped thousands of neutralizing antibodies against Zika, West Nile, Dengue, Mayaro, and Chikungunya viruses. His work has led directly to the development of antiviral therapeutic antibodies and vaccines against both flaviviruses and alphaviruses. During the pandemic, his laboratory pivoted to the study of the biology and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 and developed novel mouse models of disease. This work enabled the development of novel antibody countermeasures and a new viral-vectored nasal vaccine.
Dr. Diamond is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, Association of American Physicians, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Academy of Medicine. He is also a recipient of Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and currently an elected Councilor for the Association of American Physicians.