Steven Varga

IBA Executive Committee Member
Professor
Department: 
Microbiology and Immunology
College: 
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
University: 
The University of Iowa
STEM Area of Research: 
Microbiology
Education: 
BS in Biology, University of Notre Dame
PhD in Immunology, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Postdoctoral Fellow in Pulmonary Immunology, Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

My laboratory studies the role of virus-specific T lymphocytes in mediating immunity and immunopathology during virus infections. The laboratory uses mouse models to study several respiratory viruses including, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza A virus (IAV) and (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). A major focus of the lab is examining the host response to RSV infection. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in young children worldwide. An experimental formalin-inactivated (FI) RSV vaccine developed in the United States during the 1960's led to exacerbated disease in vaccinated infants upon a subsequent natural infection. It is believed that the immune system was largely responsible for the enhanced disease exhibited by the children that received the FI-RSV vaccine. My laboratory is interested in understanding the underlying immunological causes that resulted in the development of RSV vaccine-enhanced disease. We are currently working on a nanoparticle-based RSV vaccine.

In addition to our work on respiratory viruses, we have been collaborating with multiple investigators in our Free Radical and Radiation Biology Program to examine the impact of using high-dose ascorbate (ie vitamin C) on the host immune response during cancer therapy. We have been examining the impact of high-dose intravenous ascorbate administration on the function of anti-tumor T cells in a number of cancer settings including lung, sarcoma and glioblastoma.