Schountz Lab

Dr. Schountz’s lab of the Center of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases (CVID) is interested in understanding immune responses of bats to bat-borne human pathogenic viruses that typically lead to apathogenic, persistent infections in the bats. Current areas of interest are the recently-discovered HL18NL11 bat influenza A virus, coronaviruses (MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2), Nipah virus and ebolaviruses. Most work in the lab focuses on bat-borne viruses using a unique breeding colony of Jamaican fruit bats as an animal model.

Active projects are funded by NIAID and DARPA to develop a better understanding as to why bats host such high impact human pathogens that cause no discernible disease in bats. Bats have a number of seemingly unusual immunological features about them, including constitutive activation of the type I interferon pathway, little evidence of inflammatory responses, an extremely large number of immunoglobulin VDJ germline segments (11x larger than humans), and little evidence of somatic hypermutation. These unusual features have undoubtably shaped the genomes of bat viruses, and it may be that they also contribute to the highly pathogenic nature of bat-borne viruses in humans.

research project

Biology and infection of bats with novel bat influenza viruses

The Schountz lab is researching the effects of H18N11 and PR8 H1N1 IAV provided by Kansas State University. This is done through real- time multiplex PCR, flow cytometry, and assessment of viral loads.

research project

MERS coronavirus: antagonism of double-stranded RNA induced host response by accessory proteins

Bats are the most important reservoirs of coronaviruses, including MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. Dr. Schountz’s lab is interested in understanding how these viruses manipulate bat immune responses to favor infection without causing disease in the bats.

research project

Investigation of Zoonotic Viruses in Bats in the Caribbean

Dr. Schountz is collaborating with colleagues at St. George’s University in Grenada to study viral infections of bats. Samples from bats are tested for a variety of viruses, including influenza viruses, coronaviruses, hantaviruses and flaviviruses.

Publications

Ecology, evolution and spillover of coronaviruses from bats.

Ruiz-Aravena M, McKee C, Gamble A, Lunn T, Morris A, Snedden CE, Yinda CK, Port JR, Buchholz DW, Yeo YY, Faust C, Jax E, Dee L, Jones DN, Kessler MK, Falvo C, Crowley D, Bharti N, Brook CE, Aguilar HC, Peel AJ, Restif O, Schountz T, Parrish CR, Gurley ES, Lloyd-Smith JO, Hudson PJ, Munster VJ, Plowright RK.
Nat Rev Microbiol. 2022 May;20(5):299-314. doi: 10.1038/s41579-021-00652-2. Epub 2021 Nov 19. PMID: 34799704

SARS-CoV-2 infection, neuropathogenesis and transmission among deer mice: Implications for spillback to New World rodents.

Fagre A, Lewis J, Eckley M, Zhan S, Rocha SM, Sexton NR, Burke B, Geiss B, Peersen O, Bass T, Kading R, Rovnak J, Ebel GD, Tjalkens RB, Aboellail T, Schountz T.
PLoS Pathog. 2021 May 19;17(5):e1009585. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1009585. eCollection 2021 May. PMID: 34010360

A Potent SARS-CoV-2 Neutralizing Human Monoclonal Antibody That Reduces Viral Burden and Disease Severity in Syrian Hamsters.

Fagre AC, Manhard J, Adams R, Eckley M, Zhan S, Lewis J, Rocha SM, Woods C, Kuo K, Liao W, Li L, Corper A, Challa D, Mount E, Tumanut C, Tjalkens RB, Aboellail T, Fan X, Schountz T.
Front Immunol. 2020 Dec 18;11:614256. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.614256. eCollection 2020. PMID: 33391285

Bat influenza viruses transmit among bats but are poorly adapted to non-bat species.

Ciminski K, Ran W, Gorka M, Lee J, Malmlov A, Schinköthe J, Eckley M, Murrieta RA, Aboellail TA, Campbell CL, Ebel GD, Ma J, Pohlmann A, Franzke K, Ulrich R, Hoffmann D, García-Sastre A, Ma W, Schountz T, Beer M, Schwemmle M.
Nat Microbiol. 2019 Dec;4(12):2298-2309. doi: 10.1038/s41564-019-0556-9. Epub 2019 Sep 16. PMID: 31527796

Differential Innate Immune Responses Elicited by Nipah Virus and Cedar Virus Correlate with Disparate In Vivo Pathogenesis in Hamsters.

Schountz T, Campbell C, Wagner K, Rovnak J, Martellaro C, DeBuysscher BL, Feldmann H, Prescott J.
Viruses. 2019 Mar 22;11(3):291. doi: 10.3390/v11030291. PMID: 30909389

more publications

People

Tony Schountz, Ph.D.

Lab Principal Investigator (PI)
Associate Professor

Shijun Zhan

Research Associate I

Phillida Charley, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Bradly Burke

Graduate Research Assistant

Juliette Lewis

Graduate Research Assistant

Maggie Priore

Graduate Research Assistant

Clara Reasoner

Graduate Research Assistant

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