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Robert C. Rose, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Administrative: (585) 275-5871

Office: (585) 275-0263

Research Labs

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.

Lab: (585) 275-5822

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Faculty Appointments



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.



BS | SUNY Geneseo

MS | Univ Rochester Sch Med/Dent

PhD | Univ Rochester Sch Med/Dent


George Eastman Medal for Outstanding Achievement
Sponsor: University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
Location: Rochester, NY

Health Care Achievement Award
Sponsor: Rochester Business Journal
Location: Rochester, NY

Inspiration Award
Sponsor: James P. Wilmot Cancer Center
Location: University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

Distinguished Inventor of the Year Award
Sponsor: Rochester Intellectual Property Law Association
Location: Rochester, NY

United States Congressional Record
Sponsor: Speech by Honorable Louise Slaughter, D-NY
Location: Washington, D.C.

Davey Memorial Award for Outstanding Cancer Research
Sponsor: James P. Wilmot Cancer Center
Location: University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

Melville A. Hare Distinguished Research Award
Sponsor: Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Location: University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

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Title: Method of Determining Immune Enhancement of Virus Infectivity using FC Receptor-Transfected Cell Lines
U.S. Serial #: 11/916,149
Filed: May 31, 2006
Invented By: Xia Jin, W.W. Shanaka Rodrigo, Robert Rose, Jacob Schlesinger


Journal Articles

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.

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.

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 0; 16(2):285-7. Epub 2008 Nov 26.

Books & Chapters

Chapter Title: Human Papillomavirus Immunology and Vaccine Development
Book Title: Perspectives in Medical Virology
Author List: Rose, R.C.
Edited By: D.J. McCance
Published By: Elsevier 2002 in Amsterdam

Chapter Title: Human Papillomavirus Infections
Book Title: Antiviral Agents and Human Viral Diseases
Author List: Rose, R.C. Bonnez, W. Reichman, R.C.
Edited By: G.J. Galasso, R.C. Whitley, and T.C. Merigan
Published By: Raven Press 1997 in New York