Associate Professor of Microbiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Research Areas: Antiviral immune responses, Ebola, Marburg, Rabies, VSV, Lassa Fever, Junin, Innate immunity, Innate Immune Defense, Virus-host interaction, Zoonotic diseases, Antiviral therapeutics
PubMed Link
Contact Information:
Rosenthal Building Room 412
3800 Spruce St
 Phone (215) 573-4485
 Fax (215) 898-7887
 Email rharty@vet.upenn.edu

Research Interests
1. Molecular Mechanisms of Negative-Sense RNA Virus Assembly/Budding. Viruses
studied include: Filoviruses (Ebola and Marburg), Arenaviruses (Lassa Fever and Junin), and
Rhabdoviruses (Vesicular
Stomatitis and Rabies).
2. Virus-Host Interactions that Modulate Filovirus and Rhabdovirus Assembly/Budding.
3. Innate Immune Defenses against Filoviruses and Rhabdoviruses.
4. Host-Oriented antiviral therapeutics.

Key words: Ebola, Marburg, VSV, Matrix Proteins, VP40, Budding, VLPs, Reverse-Genetics, Virus-Host Interactions, Innate Immunity.

Description of Research
My laboratory is focused mainly on the molecular events that lead to virus assembly and budding. Our model virus systems include vesicular stomatitis virus (a rhabdovirus that causes disease in bovine and equine species), and the filoviruses Ebola and Marburg (emerging, zoonotic pathogens and potential agents of bioterrorism). Our studies are focused on the viral matrix proteins which are the major building blocks of the virus and function to direct virion assembly and budding. We are particularly interested in understanding how these viral matrix proteins interact with host proteins to facilitate the budding process. We are also interested in the host innate immune response to virus infection, and identifying antivirals that can inhibit egress and spread of filoviruses and rhabdoviruses. A second area of study is to utilize reverse-genetics to generate and recover VSV recombinants expressing the surface gB protein of HSV-1 for use in studies to dissect the structure and function of gB during virus-cell fusion. My lab utilizes a wide-array of techniques for these studies such as, virus-like particle (VLP) budding assays, reverse-genetics to generate VSV recombinants, bimolecular complementation, ubiquitination and ISGylation assays, and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM).

Lab personnel:
Dr. Yuliang Liu – Senior Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr. Yonggang Qu – Visiting Scientist.
Ms. Sasha Stone – Penn Undergraduate Bio-Engineering Major (Independent Study)
Mr. Benoit Clerc-Renaud – 2011 NIH/Merial Veterinary Scholar

Okumura, Atsushi. Pitha, Paula M. Harty, Ronald N. ISG15 inhibits Ebola VP40 VLP budding in an L-domain-dependent manner by blocking Nedd4 ligase activity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105: 3974-9, 2008.

Irie, Takashi. Licata, Jillian M. Harty, Ronald N. Functional characterization of Ebola virus L-domains using VSV recombinants. Virology 336: 291-8, 2005.

Harty, R. N., Pitha, P. M., and Okumura, A. Antiviral Activity of Innate Immune Protein ISG15. J. Innate Immun. J. Innate Immun. 1: , 2009.

Okumura, A. and Harty, R. N. Rabies Virus Assembly and Budding. In: Research Advances in Rabies (Alan Jackson, Ed.) Advances in Virus Research 79: 23-32, 2011.

BS (Biology) University of Lowell, Massachusetts, 1985

Ph.D. (Microbiology/Virology) Lousiana State University Medical Center, 1991