Dr. García-Sastre is a virologist recognized for his contributions to better understand: 1) the molecular pathogenesis of emerging viral pathogens, especially influenza virus; and 2) the cellular mechanisms governing induction and regulation of antiviral innate and adaptive immune responses. He pioneered the use of plasmid-based reverse genetics to study the molecular biology and pathogenesis of influenza viruses and to generate improved influenza virus vaccines. He also discovered viral interferon antagonists, first in influenza virus, and also in ebolavirus, dengue virus, and other hemorrhagic fever viruses. His publication in Science on the reconstruction and characterization of the pandemic influenza virus of 1918 was awarded with the distinction of the paper of the year 2005 by Lancet. García-Sastre was born in Burgos, Spain, and graduated with a degree in Biological Sciences and with a Ph.D. in 1990 in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Salamanca, Spain. He also holds an Honorary Doctor Degree from the University of Burgos, Spain. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Microbiology of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai where he joined the faculty in 1997. He has been President of the International Society for Vaccines, and he is a member of the Royal Academy of Pharmacy in Spain and of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Research in the García-Sastre laboratory focuses on a wide variety of viral pathogens, as well as host-pathogen interactions, and vaccine and anti-viral drug development. A major focus of the lab is on influenza virus research. Influenza viruses are globally important human pathogens infecting up to 500 million people annually. With the emergence of highly pathogenic avian influenza strains, there is a pressing need to understand the pathogenesis of influenza A and develop better vaccines and therapies. The laboratory is using both hypothesis-driven and systems biology based approaches to understand virus pathogenesis and to develop improved antivirals and vaccines. These studies are also geared towards the identification of novel regulators of innate and adaptive immune responses leading to the development of new vaccines and therapies against infectious diseases and cancer. Specifically, they are working in understanding the factors associated with severe influenza virus infection, the development of pan-influenza virus vaccines, the discovery of novel adjuvants, and the use of engineered viruses as vaccine vectors and as anti-tumor agents.

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Primary Section

Section 44: Microbial Biology

Secondary Section

Section 43: Immunology and Inflammation