Diane E. Griffin

Johns Hopkins University

Election Year: 2004
Primary Section: 44, Microbial Biology
Secondary Section: 43, Immunology and Inflammation
Membership Type: Member


Diane Griffin is University Distinguished Service Professor and Alfred and Jill Sommer Chair of the W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Griffin is a virologist recognized for her work on the pathogenesis of viral infections. She is known particularly for her studies on measles and alphavirus encephalomyelitis that have delineated the role of the immune response in virus clearance, vaccine-induced protection from infection, tissue damage and immune suppression.

Dr. Griffin was born in Iowa City, Iowa, and grew up in Oklahoma City. She graduated from Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois with a degree in biology and from Stanford University School of Medicine in 1968 with a PhD in immunology and MD, followed by a residency in internal medicine. She was a postdoctoral fellow in virology and infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and joined the faculty in 1974. She has been president of the American Society for Virology and of the American Society for Microbiology and is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.

Research Interests

Dr. Griffin's research on RNA viruses that cause two different acute diseases (measles and alphavirus encephalitis) seeks to understand the mechanisms of disease pathogenesis, recovery and development of protective immunity. These studies involve identification and characterization of viral determinants of virulence and host responses to infection in animal model systems. Both measles virus and encephalitis viruses cause acute infections with disease lasting about a week.  Immune-mediated clearance of infectious virus occurs promptly but viral RNA persists after apparent recovery. The mechanism(s) of non-cytolytic viral clearance from mature neurons during recovery from encephalomyelitis is currently under study. Viral RNA persistence may lead to unexpected late complications of infection but during recovery from measles virus infection continued stimulation of the immune response may also contribute to development of lifelong protective immunity.

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