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Stuart Isaacs, MD

Stuart N. Isaacs, M.D.

Dr. Isaacs’ laboratory focuses on using poxviruses as a model system to study viral proteins that are involved in viral pathogenesis, dissemination, and evasion of the host immune response. Poxviruses, which are used widely as a tool for research and vaccine development, express proteins that inhibit complement activation, bind IL-1, TNF, and interferons, and decrease the host inflammatory response by other mechanisms. Elucidation of these processes could lead to a safer virus vector. Furthermore, the study of these defense molecules encoded by the virus might give insights into the control of inflammation, as well as, the development of new anti-inflammatory drugs. The laboratory has also been pursuing the use of vaccinia virus as a vaccine vector. They are investigating a novel way of targeting foreign antigens to the outer envelope of the vaccinia virion. Presentation of antigens in this manner may result in enhanced immunity against the foreign antigen when compared to standard vaccinia virus vectors. The lab is also involved with anti-bioterrorism research and receives funding from NIAID's Middle-Atlantic Regional Center of Excellence in Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases. His lab is helping to develop safer smallpox vaccines and novel therapies to treat smallpox and complications from the smallpox vaccine. This work involves techniques in molecular biology, construction of recombinant viruses, studies of protein expression and isolation, development, screening, and characterization of monoclonal antibodies, and investigations of viral pathogenesis in laboratory animals.

Dr. Isaacs attends on the inpatient ID consult service at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. At the PVAMC he is the vice-chairperson of the IRB.

Selected publications:

Girgis NM, DeHaven BC, Fan X, Viner KM, Shamim M, Isaacs SN. Cell surface expression of the vaccinia virus complement control protein is mediated by interaction with the viral A56 protein and protects infected cells from complement attack. Journal of Virology. 82:4205-14, 2008.

Buchman GW, Cohen ME, Xiao Y, Richardson-Harman N, Silvera P, DeTolla LJ, Davis HJ, Eisenberg RJ, Cohen GH, Isaacs SN. A protein-based smallpox vaccine protects non-human primates from a lethal monkeypox virus challenge. Vaccine. 28:6627-36, 2010.

Xiao Y, Isaacs SN. Therapeutic vaccines and antibodies for treatment of orthopoxvirus infections. Viruses. 2:2381-2403, 2010. (Peer-reviewed review article)

DeHaven BC, Girgis NM, Xiao Y, Hudson PN, Olson VA, Damon IK, Isaacs SN. Poxvirus complement control proteins are expressed on the cell surface through an intermolecular disulfide bridge with the viral A56 protein. Journal of Virology. 84:11245-54, 2010.

Isaacs, SN. A stimulating way to improve T cell responses to poxvirus-vectored vaccines. Journal of Clinical Investigation. [in press] (Invited peer-reviewed commentary)

Girgis NM, DeHaven BC, Xiao Y, Alexander E, Viner KM, Isaacs SN. The vaccinia virus complement control protein modulates adaptive immune responses during infection. Journal of Virology. [in press]

Stuart Isaacs, M.D.
319C Johnson Pavilion
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6073

Medical School: Yale University
ID Training: Tufts-New England Medical Center
Post-doctoral Research: National Institutes of Health, NIAID, Laboratory of Viral Diseases
Academic Rank: Associate Professor of Medicine