Stephen Dewhurst, Ph.D.

Stephen Dewhurst, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 672
Rochester, NY 14642

Office: (585) 275-3216
Fax: (585) 473-2361

Professional Bio

Dr. Dewhurst is Dean's Professor and Chair of Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry (URSMD). He received his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 1987, and performed postdoctoral training at Columbia University and at the Harvard School of Public Health, under the direction of Dr. Jim Mullins. His doctoral and postdoctoral work focussed on the pathogenesis of human and simian immunodeficiency viruses. He has been a member of the faculty at the University of Rochester since 1990, and served as Senior Associate Dean for Basic Research at the URSMD from 2007 to 2009.

He has over 20 years experience as a molecular virologist, working on both RNA and DNA viruses (including HIV-1 and human herpesviruses) and is expert in the areas of viral gene transfer vectors, HIV-1 vaccine development and neuroAIDS. He has served on many NIH special emphasis and regular grant review panels and is a former Study Section Chair as well as a past (2004-2008) member of the NIH Recombinant Advisory Committee (RAC), which oversees all recombinant DNA studies in human subjects. He serves as Director of the UR's NIH-funded Development Center for AIDS Research, and also directs a NIH-funded Predoctoral training program in HIV-1 research, in addition to his own research.

Research Bio

Current research interests in our laboratory include the following:

HIV VACCINE AND MICROBICIDE DEVELOPMENT: An effective HIV vaccine must elicit protective immune responses at mucosal sites of virus transmission. It is thought that mucosal delivery of vaccines may hold the key to this. We are therefore exploring whether this problem can be solved by delivering nanoparticle based vaccines by a mucosal route, under the tongue. This "sublingual" route of delivery has been safely used to deliver medicines such as nitroglycerin for decades, but has been little studied in the setting of vaccine administration.
Improving the mucosal immune response is only part of the battle, in terms of developing a successful HIV vaccine. Also needed are improved immunogens, capable of evoking virus neutralizing antibodies that recognize diverse virus strains. However, antibodies of this kind have proven hard to generate, in part because the virus structures that they recognize are normally hidden from the immune system. We are therefore also working to develop improved vaccine immunogens, by producing novel "antigenic mimics" of key structures present on the surface of the virus.
Finally, we are also exploring new approaches to microbicide development, by targeting amyloid structures in semen, known as SEVI. SEVI enhances infection by allowing HIV particles to stick more efficiently to the immune cells that the virus infects. We are presently examining the normal function of SEVI, which presumably did not evolve to enhance HIV infection! We are also developing novel developing compounds that prevent SEVI from interacting with the virus – thereby reducing the efficiency of HIV infection. This strategy is different from most other antiviral approaches, because it targets an invariant host factor – making it very unlikely that the virus could ever become resistant to SEVI inhibitors.

NEUROAIDS RESEARCH: NOVEL THERAPEUTICS and STUDIES OF CEREBRAL BLOOD FLOW: HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND) continue to affect more than 50% of persons living with HIV, despite the widespread use of effective antiviral drugs. This suggests that chronic, virally-initiated, neuroinflammation may persist over time – leading to neuronal disfunction and damage. In collaboration with Handy Gelbard, we are therefore working to develop new therapies for HAND, by targeting mixed lineage kinase (MLK)-3, an upstream kinase involved in the regulation of neuroinflammation and cell fate. In separate studies, we are also examining the mechanisms by which HIV infection leads to inhibition of cerebral blood flow (CBF). These experiments include an analysis of how virally-encoded neurotoxins may interact with drugs of abuse (such as methamphetamine) to exacerbate CNS disease and neuroinflammation.

ROLE OF CELLULAR FACTORS IN INFLUENZA VIRUS PATHOGENESIS AND HOST ADAPTATION: The influenza A virus (IAV) RNA polymerase complex is known to play an important role in viral pathogenesis and host adaptation, but the underlying reasons for this remain unclear. In collaboration with the Katze laboratory at the University of Washington, our group recently completed an extensive proteomic analysis of host cell factors that interact with the IAV RNA polymerase. This resulted in the identification of large number of mitochondrial proteins, and other cellular proteins that were previously not recognized to play a role in influenza virus infection. Current studies in our laboratory are examining how these proteins influence virus replication, and pathogenesis, as well as the activity of the viral RNA polymerase.

Awards & Honors (National)

Chair, NIH/NIAID AIDSRRC Charter Study Section 2003 - 2004
Research Career Development Award, NIH 1994 - 1999
AIDS Research Scholar | AmFAR (American Foundation for AIDS Research) 1988 - 1991

Awards & Honors (Local)

William H. Riker Award for Graduate Education | University of Rochester 2008
Member, NIH Recombinant Advisory Committee (RAC) 2004 - Present
University Dean's Award for Meritorious Service in Ph.D. Defenses | University of Rochester 2003
Graduate Alumni Award for Excellence in Graduate Education | University of Rochester 2002
Dean's Professor of Microbiology & Immunology | University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry 2002 - Present
Graduate Student Soceity (GSS) Faculty Teaching Award | University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry 1996
Friend of Education Award | Rochester City School District 1995


High Affinity Binding Proteins to Integrins

United States Serial NO.: 10/473,770
Filed Date: April 4, 2002
Title: avB3 Integrin-Binding Polypeptide Monobodies and Their Use
Invented by: Shohei Koide, Stephen Dewhurst, Akiko Koide, Julie Richards Gunzler, Michelle Miller
Antigenic Mimics of Discontinuous HIV-1 Envelope Epitopes Recognized by Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies

United States Serial NO.: 13/577,419
Filed Date: February 14, 2011
Title: Antigenic Mimics of Discontinuous Epitopes of Pathogens Recognized by Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies
Invented by: Stephen Dewhurst, Mark Sullivan
A Selectively Non-Selective Mixed Lineage Kinase 3 Inhibitor Potentiates the Effectiveness of Antiretroviral Therapy for HIV/AIDS

United States Serial NO.: 14/648,404
Filed Date: November 30, 2013
Title: MIxed Lineage Kinase Inhibitors for HIV/AIDS Therapies
Invented by: Harris Gelbard, Stephen Dewhurst, Howard Gendelman
Method for Increasing the Attenuation and Safety of a Live-attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV)

United States Serial NO.: 14/695,544
Filed Date: April 24, 2015
Title: Attenuated Influenza Vaccines and Uses Thereof
Invented by: Stephen Dewhurst, Andrew Cox, John Treanor, Baek Kim
Method for Increasing the Attenuation and Safety of a Live-attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV)

United States Serial NO.: 14/905,320
Filed Date: July 18, 2014
Title: Method for Increasing the Attenuation and Safety of a Live-attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV)
Invented by: Stephen Dewhurst, Andrew Cox, John Treanor, Baek Kim

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 179 available »

2016 Feb
Blanchard C, Brooks L, Beckley A, Colquhoun J, Dewhurst S, Dunman PM. "Neomycin Sulfate Improves the Antimicrobial Activity of Mupirocin-Based Antibacterial Ointments." Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy. 2016 Feb; 60(2):862-72. Epub 2015 Nov 23.
2016 Jan 12
Nishimura C, Polesskaya O, Dewhurst S, Silva JN. "Quantification of Cerebral Vascular Architecture using Two-photon Microscopy in a Mouse Model of HIV-induced Neuroinflammation." Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE. 2016 Jan 12; (107):e53582. Epub 2016 Jan 12.
2015 Dec 16
Cox A, Dewhurst S. "A Single Mutation at PB1 Residue 319 Dramatically Increases the Safety of PR8 Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine in a Murine Model without Compromising Vaccine Efficacy." Journal of virology. 2015 Dec 16; 90(5):2702-5. Epub 2015 Dec 16.
2015 Apr 1
Puccini JM, Marker DF, Fitzgerald T, Barbieri J, Kim CS, Miller-Rhodes P, Lu SM, Dewhurst S, Gelbard HA. "Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 modulates neuroinflammation and neurotoxicity in models of human immunodeficiency virus 1-associated neurocognitive disorders." The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2015 Apr 1; 35(13):5271-83.
2015 Mar
Cox A, Baker SF, Nogales A, Martínez-Sobrido L, Dewhurst S. "Development of a mouse-adapted live attenuated influenza virus that permits in vivo analysis of enhancements to the safety of live attenuated influenza virus vaccine." Journal of virology. 2015 Mar; 89(6):3421-6. Epub 2014 Dec 31.

Current Appointments

Vice Dean for Research, SMD - Department of Dean's Office M&D - Administration (SMD)
Associate Vice President for Health Sciences Research - Department of Office of Sr VP for Research (UR)
Chair - Department of Microbiology and Immunology (SMD) - Primary Administrative
Dean's Professorship - Department of Microbiology and Immunology (SMD)
Professor - Department of Microbiology and Immunology (SMD) - Primary


PhD | Molecular Biology | University of Nebraska1987
BS | Biochemistry | Bristol University, UK1984

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Cancer Biology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA. 1990
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Medicine and Pediatrics, Columbia University, New York, NY. 1988