Schountz Lab

Dr. Schountz’s lab of the Center for Vector-borne Infectious Diseases (CVID) is interested in understanding immune responses of bats to bat-borne human pathogenic viruses that typically lead to apathogenic infections in the bats. Current areas of interest are H18N11 bat influenza A virus, coronaviruses (MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2), and paramyxoviruses. 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 to develop a better understanding as to why bats can 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 a robust type I interferon response, little evidence of inflammation, and little evidence of affinity maturation that typically leads to high titered antibody responses. 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.


Diet-induced changes in metabolism influence immune response and viral shedding dynamics in Jamaican fruit bats.
Falvo C, Crowley D, Benson E, Hall MN, Schwarz B, Bohrnsen E, Ruiz-Aravena M, Hebner M, Ma W, Schountz T, Rynda-Apple A, Plowright RK.bioRxiv. 2023 Dec 1:2023.12.01.569121. doi: 10.1101/2023.12.01.569121. Preprint. PMID: 38077027

Antiviral responses in a Jamaican fruit bat intestinal organoid model of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Hashimi M, Sebrell TA, Hedges JF, Snyder D, Lyon KN, Byrum SD, Mackintosh SG, Crowley D, Cherne MD, Skwarchuk D, Robison A, Sidar B, Kunze A, Loveday EK, Taylor MP, Chang CB, Wilking JN, Walk ST, Schountz T, Jutila MA, Bimczok D. Nat Commun. 2023 Oct 28;14(1):6882. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-42610-x. PMID: 37898615

Regulatory T cell-like response to SARS-CoV-2 in Jamaican fruit bats (Artibeus jamaicensis) transduced with human ACE2.
Burke B, Rocha SM, Zhan S, Eckley M, Reasoner C, Addetia A, Lewis J, Fagre A, Charley PA, Richt JA, Weiss SR, Tjalkens RB, Veesler D, Aboellail T, Schountz T. PLoS Pathog. 2023 Oct 19;19(10):e1011728. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1011728. eCollection 2023 Oct. PMID: 37856551

Metagenomics-enabled reverse-genetics assembly and characterization of myotis bat morbillivirus.
Ikegame S, Carmichael JC, Wells H, Furler O’Brien RL, Acklin JA, Chiu HP, Oguntuyo KY, Cox RM, Patel AR, Kowdle S, Stevens CS, Eckley M, Zhan S, Lim JK, Veit EC, Evans MJ, Hashiguchi T, Durigon E, Schountz T, Epstein JH, Plemper RK, Daszak P, Anthony SJ, Lee B. Nat Microbiol. 2023 Jun;8(6):1108-1122. doi: 10.1038/s41564-023-01380-4. Epub 2023 May 4. PMID: 37142773

Integrative single-cell characterization of frugivory adaptations in the bat kidney and pancreas.
Gordon WE, Baek S, Nguyen HP, Kuo YM, Bradley R, Galazyuk A, Lee I, Ingala MR, Simmons NB, Schountz T, Cooper LN, Georgakopoulos-Soares I, Hemberg M, Ahituv N. bioRxiv. 2023 Feb 13:2023.02.12.528204. doi: 10.1101/2023.02.12.528204. Preprint. PMID: 36824791

more publications


Tony Schountz, Ph.D.

Lab Principal Investigator (PI)
Associate Professor

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