Robert C. Rose, Ph.D.

Robert C. Rose, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 689
Rochester, NY 14642

Office: (585) 275-0263
Lab: (585) 275-5822
Administrative: (585) 275-5871

Lab Information

Our lab pioneered development of virus-like particles (VLPs) for prevention of mucosal human papillomavirus (HPV) disease. Current goals include development of vaccines against dengue and HIV.

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Research Bio

Genital infection with any of several human papillomaviruses (HPVs) is necessary but not sufficient to cause uterine cervical cancer, the second most common female malignancy worldwide. In the late 1980s we established antibody-mediated virus neutralization as a vaccine concept for prevention of genital HPV infections by using authentic virions of a genital HPV type (type 11 or "HPV11") to demonstrate that viral infectivity could be blocked with capsid-specific antibodies. This observation led us to produce non-infectious "virus-like particles" (VLPs) of prevalent genital HPV types associated with either benign genital warts (HPV11) (1) or cervical cancer (HPV16 and HPV18) (3). By comparing HPV11 recombinant VLPs with authentic native genital HPV11 virions, we were able to show that VLPs accurately mimic viral structure and immunological properties. We then formally demonstrated that this approach to vaccine development was valid by showing that antibodies raised against HPV11 L1 VLPs efficiently neutralized authentic HPV11 virus particles (2).Our subsequent evaluations of antibody responses against VLPs derived from three genetically distinct genital HPV types (i.e., types 11, 16 and 18) led us to conclude that antibody-mediated neutralization was genotype-specific, and that multivalent HPV VLP vaccine formulations would be required for the induction of broadly protective immunity against genital HPV disease (3)(4).

We next developed a collaboration with a small biotechnology company (MedImmune, Inc., Gaithersburg, MD), and performed the first-in-humans administration of VLPs in a controlled phase 1 clinical study of VLP safety and tolerability. The results of our study indicated that VLPs are safe and well-tolerated (11). Next, phase 2 and phase 3 clinical studies were performed by GlaxoSmithKline, and by Merck, Sharp & Dohme. Results from those studies demonstrated that VLP vaccines are highly effective for preventing cervical cancer precursor lesions. In June 2006, Gardasil (a tetravalent VLP vaccine formulation made by Merck) was approved by the FDA, and recommended by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for universal immunization of 11 and 12 year old females. A bivalent formulation developed by Glaxosmithkline is now under FDA review.

More recently our work has involved the development of alternative needle-free methods for VLP administration that we hope will prove to be more suitable for use in developing world regions where most cervical cancer occurs (8, 9, 13). We are also developing chimeric VLP-based vaccines for therapy of established genital HPV disease, or for preventing or treating diseases caused by other viruses including HIV and Dengue.

Awards & Honors (National)

United States Congressional Record | Speech by Honorable Louise Slaughter, D-NY | Washington, D.C. 2006

Awards & Honors (Local)

George Eastman Medal for Outstanding Achievement | University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry | Rochester, NY 2009
Health Care Achievement Award | Rochester Business Journal | Rochester, NY 2007
Inspiration Award | James P. Wilmot Cancer Center | University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 2007
Distinguished Inventor of the Year Award | Rochester Intellectual Property Law Association | Rochester, NY 2006
Davey Memorial Award for Outstanding Cancer Research | James P. Wilmot Cancer Center | University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 2005
Melville A. Hare Distinguished Research Award | Department of Microbiology and Immunology | University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 1994


HPV Capsomeres (Homogeneous Human Papillomavirus)

United States Serial NO.: 08/888,050
Filed Date: July 3, 1997
Title: Homogeneous Human Papillomavirus Capsomere Containing Compositions, Methods for Manufacture, and Use Thereof as Diagnostic, Prophylactic or Therapeutic Agents
Invented by: Robert Rose, Robert Garcea, JoAnn Suzich, Wendy White, Maolin Li
HPV Capsomeres (Homogeneous Human Papillomavirus)

United States Serial NO.: 09/109,036
Filed Date: July 2, 1998
Title: Homogeneous Human Papillomavirus Capsomere Containing Compositions, Methods for Manufacture, and Use Thereof as Diagnostic, Prophylactic or Therapeutics Agents
Invented by: Robert Rose, Robert Garcea, JoAnn Suzich, Wendy White, Maolin Li
Transcutaneous Immunization Against Papillomavirus Disease

United States Serial NO.: 10/486,564
Filed Date: February 11, 2004
Title: Transcutaneous Immunization Against Papillomavirus with Papillomavirus Virus-like Particles
Invented by: Robert Rose
Stable Human Fc Receptor-Transformed Cell Lines to Detect Virus-Neutralizing and Enhancing Antibodies

United States Serial NO.: 11/916,149
Filed Date: May 31, 2006
Title: Method of Determining Immune Enhancement of Virus Infectivity using FC Receptor-Transfected Cell Lines
Invented by: Jacob Schlesinger, Jia Xin, Robert Rose, W.W. Shanaka Rodrigo
Novel Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Chimeric Virus Like Particle (cVLP)-Based Gene Delivery System for Phrophylaxis and Immunotherapy of Infectious Diseases

United States Serial NO.: 12/439,338
Filed Date: August 30, 2007
Title: Combined Human Papillomavirus VLP/Gene Delivery System and Use Thereof As a Vaccine for Prophylaxis and Immunotherapy of Infectious Diseases and Tumors
Invented by: Robert Rose, Christine Malboeuf, YoungEun Ellen Lee Son, Christopher Lane

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 29 available »

2009 Nov 25
Rodrigo WW, Block OK, Lane C, Sukupolvi-Petty S, Goncalvez AP, Johnson S, Diamond MS, Lai CJ, Rose RC, Jin X, Schlesinger JJ. "Dengue virus neutralization is modulated by IgG antibody subclass and Fcgamma receptor subtype." Virology. 2009 Nov 25; 394(2):175-82. Epub 2009 Oct 14.
2009 Jun 18
Murata Y, Lightfoote PM, Rose RC, Walsh EE. "Antigenic presentation of heterologous epitopes engineered into the outer surface-exposed helix 4 loop region of human papillomavirus L1 capsomeres." Virology journal. 2009 Jun 18; 6:81. Epub 2009 Jun 18.
2009 Feb
Rodrigo WW, Alcena DC, Kou Z, Kochel TJ, Porter KR, Comach G, Rose RC, Jin X, Schlesinger JJ. "Difference between the abilities of human Fcgamma receptor-expressing CV-1 cells to neutralize American and Asian genotypes of dengue virus 2." Clinical and vaccine immunology : CVI. 2009 Feb; 16(2):285-7. Epub 2008 Nov 26.
2009 Jan
Shanaka WW, Rodrigo I, Alcena DC, Rose RC, Jin X, Schlesinger JJ. "An automated Dengue virus microneutralization plaque assay performed in human Fc{gamma} receptor-expressing CV-1 cells." The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene. 2009 Jan; 80(1):61-5.
2008 Jan
Kou Z, Quinn M, Chen H, Rodrigo WW, Rose RC, Schlesinger JJ, Jin X. "Monocytes, but not T or B cells, are the principal target cells for dengue virus (DV) infection among human peripheral blood mononuclear cells." Journal of medical virology. 2008 Jan; 80(1):134-46.

Current Appointments

Professor Emeritus - Department of Medicine, Infectious Diseases (SMD) - Primary


PhD | Virology | Univ Rochester Sch Med/Dent1994
MS | Microbiology | Univ Rochester Sch Med/Dent1990
BS | Biology | SUNY Geneseo1984