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David Pickup

Associate Professor
Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
(919) 684-2480
Research Interest: 
Microbiology and virology
Research Summary: 
Viral suppression of immune responses to infection, and the development of live-virus vaccines to improve protection against viral infections.
Research Description: 

Many viruses have evolved mechanisms to protect themselves from host immune defenses. Among this group are the orthopoxviruses, whose members include smallpox virus, one of the deadliest of human viruses, and cowpox virus, the virus that Edward Jenner used to begin the eradication of smallpox.

Our main research objectives are to identify mechanisms of virus-host interaction leading to the modification or alteration of host functions. Our working model is that such interactions are amongst the most important factors in viral pathogenesis. Knowledge of these virus-host interactions should help in the development of new therapies for a variety of conditions associated with infectious diseases, inflammatory diseases, autoimmune diseases, cancers, and organ transplantation.

A second research interest is to improve the design of viral vectors to be used in multivalent vaccines. The goal is to modify vectors derived from vaccinia virus, particularly replication-impaired vectors, such that their immunogenicity is maintained or increased without compromising the safety of these vaccines.

Production of prostaglandin E₂ in response to infection with modified vaccinia Ankara virus.
Pollara JJ, Spesock AH, Pickup DJ, Laster SM, Petty IT.
Virology. 2012. 428:146-55.

Cowpox virus induces interleukin-10 both in vitro and in vivo.
Spesock AH, Barefoot BE, Ray CA, Kenan DJ, Gunn MD, Ramsburg EA, Pickup DJ.
Virology. 2011. 417:87-97.

Cowpox virus inhibits human dendritic cell immune function by nonlethal, nonproductive infection.
Hansen SJ, Rushton J, Dekonenko A, Chand HS, Olson GK, Hutt JA, Pickup D, Lyons CR, Lipscomb MF.
Virology. 2011. 412:411-25.

Cell biology. Propelling progeny.
Pickup DJ.
Science. 2010. 327:787-8.

Two mechanistically distinct immune evasion proteins of cowpox virus combine to avoid antiviral CD8 T cells.
Byun M, Verweij MC, Pickup DJ, Wiertz EJ, Hansen TH, Yokoyama WM.
Cell Host Microbe. 2009. 6:422-32.