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Viral Immunology and Intravital Imaging Section - Division of Intramural Research


Dorian McGavern Image

Dorian McGavern, Ph.D., Senior Investigator

Dr. McGavern received his B.S degree in microbiology from The Pennsylvania State University and his Ph.D. in molecular neuroscience from the Mayo Clinic. Following an academic appointment as an Associate Professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbial Sciences at The Scripps Research Institute, Dr. McGavern joined the NINDS in March 2009. Dr. McGavern is the recipient of the prestigious Ray Thomas Edwards Foundation Award and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease Award. His laboratory at the NIH is focused on states of acute and persistent viral infection of the central nervous system (CNS). As Chief of the Viral Immunology and Intravital Imaging Section, Dr. McGavern investigates the impact of viral infections on the CNS as well as how the innate and adaptive immune systems respond to pathogens in this privileged compartment.

Laboratory Staff

Filipa Cardoso, B.S., Visiting Pre-IRTA Student
Kara Corps, D.V.M., Graduate Student
Selamawit Gossa, B.S., M.S, Technician
Jasmin Herz, Ph.D., Visiting Fellow
Elizabeth Kenyon, B.S., M.S, Technician
Ashley Moseman, Ph.D., Postdoctoral IRTA Fellow
Debasis Nayak, D.V.M., Ph.D., Visiting Fellow
Rejane Rua, Ph.D., Visiting Fellow
Phillip Swanson, Ph.D., Postdoctoral IRTA Fellow
Patrick Wu, B.S., Postbaccalaureate IRTA

Research Interests

My laboratory focuses on innate and adaptive immune responses to states of acute and persistent viral infection. Of particular interest are pathogens that infect the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is an immunologically specialized tissue containing a population of nonreplicative cells (neurons) responsible for a symphony of electrochemical signaling. The communication between neurons is exceedingly complex and contributes to nearly every aspect of our day-to-day functions. The immune system is equally complex (possessing both innate and adaptive components) and is burdened with the task of warding off microbes that invade all parts of the body. For this reason, the immune system is highly mobile and equipped with effector mechanisms that neutralize pathogens. However, use of effector mechanisms can sometimes cause tissue injury and disease. From an immunological perspective, the CNS is an interesting compartment because it must preserve neuronal function while still enabling immune cells to survey the environment for pathogens. Many microbes have the ability to invade the CNS, and it is the unique dialogue between immune cells and the infected CNS that guides much of our research. We focus specifically on immune cell surveillance of the infected CNS, pathogenesis of viral meningitis (a disease caused by infection and inflammation of the brain lining), mechanisms that give rise to viral persistence in the CNS and periphery, the impact of chronic innate immune stimulation during viral persistence, and therapeutic approaches to purge persistent viral infections. We use many contemporary approaches to gain novel insights into these research areas, the most exciting of which is intravital two photon microscopy. This approach allows us to watch immune cells clear virus or cause disease in real time. Overall, our laboratory crosses the disciplines of virology, immunology, and neuroscience in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the different scenarios that unfold when pathogens invade the CNS and periphery.


Selected Recent Publications

  • Nayak D, Roth TL, McGavern DB
    Microglia Development and Function, Annu Rev Immunol, 2014 Full Text/Abstract
  • Roth TL, Nayak D, Atanasijevic T, Koretsky AP, Latour LL, McGavern DB
    Transcranial amelioration of inflammation and cell death after brain injury, Nature, 2014, vol. 505(7482), pp. 223-8. Full Text/Abstract
  • Nayak D, Johnson KR, Heydari S, Roth TL, Zinselmeyer BH, McGavern DB
    Type I Interferon Programs Innate Myeloid Dynamics and Gene Expression in the Virally Infected Nervous System, PLoS Pathog., 2013, vol. 9(5), pp. e1003395. Full Text/Abstract
  • Zinselmeyer BH, Heydari S, Sacristan C, Nayak D, Cammer M, Herz J, Cheng X, Davis SJ, Dustin ML, McGavern DB
    PD-1 promotes immune exhaustion by inducing antiviral T cell motility paralysis, J Exp Med., 2013, vol. 210(4), pp. 757-74. Full Text/Abstract
  • Moseman EA, McGavern DB
    The great balancing act: regulation and fate of antiviral T cell interactions, Immunol Rev., 2013, vol. 255(1), pp. 110-24. Full Text/Abstract
  • Herz J, Zinselmeyer BH, McGavern DB
    Two-photon imaging of microbial immunity in living tissues, Microsc Microanal., 2012, vol. 18, pp. 730-741. Full Text/Abstract
  • Nayak D, Zinselmeyer BH, Corps K, McGavern DB
    In vivo dynamics of innate immune sentinels in the CNS, Intravital., 2012, vol. 1, pp. 1-12. Full Text/Abstract
  • Garidou L, Heydari S, Gossa S, McGavern DB
    Therapeutic blockade of transforming growth factor beta fails to promote clearance of a persistent viral infection, J Virol., 2012, vol. 86(13), pp. 7060-71. Full Text/Abstract

Selected Earlier Publications


Contact Information

Viral Immunology and Intravital Imaging Section
Bldg 10, Rm 7C107
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892-1430

Telephone: 301-443-7949 (office), 301-402-1007 (fax)
Email: mcgavernd@ninds.nih.gov