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.


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 Sep 16. doi: 10.1038/s41564-019-0556-9. [Epub ahead of print]

Detection of New World Hantavirus Antibodies in Rodents of Eastern New Mexico, USA.

Curtis JL, Milholland MT, Schountz T, Castro-Arellano I, Mali I.
J Wildl Dis. 2019 Oct;55(4):986-989. Epub 2019 Apr 25.

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). pii: E291. doi: 10.3390/v11030291.

Experimental Zika virus infection of Jamaican fruit bats (Artibeus jamaicensis) and possible entry of virus into brain via activated microglial cells.

Malmlov A, Bantle C, Aboellail T, Wagner K, Campbell CL, Eckley M, Chotiwan N, Gullberg RC, Perera R, Tjalkens R, Schountz T.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2019 Feb 4;13(2):e0007071. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0007071. eCollection 2019 Feb.

Involvement of Pro-Inflammatory Macrophages in Liver Pathology of Pirital Virus-Infected Syrian Hamsters.

Campbell CL, Phillips AT, Rico A, McGuire A, Aboellail TA, Quackenbush S, Olson KE, Schountz T.
Viruses. 2018 May 2;10(5). pii: E232. doi: 10.3390/v10050232.

more publications


Tony Schountz, Ph.D.

Lab Principal Investigator (PI)
Associate Professor

Miles Eckley

Research Associate I

Shijun Zhan

Research Associate I

Phillida Charley, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Bradly Burke

Graduate Research Assistant

Juliette Lewis

Graduate Research Assistant

John Allen

Student Researcher

Kaitlyn Williams

Student Researcher

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