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John Williams, MD

  • Henry L. Hillman Endowed Chair in Pediatric Immunology
  • Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
  • Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases

    Education & Training

  • Medical School – Medical College of Virginia – MD
  • Residency – Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh – Pediatrics
  • Fellowship – Vanderbilt University Medical Center – Pediatric Infectious Disease
Research Grants

NIH Grants:  R01, U01

Research Summary

The major focus of Dr. Williams’ research is the immunity and pathogenesis of human metapneumovirus (HMPV) and other respiratory viruses. His team established the epidemiology of HMPV as a leading cause of lower respiratory infection, identified integrins as receptors for HMPV, and discovered that HMPV enters cells through endocytosis. His group identified the HMPV F protein as the protective antigen and showed that F protein was an effective vaccine. Dr. Williams’ lab discovered that HMPV and other acute respiratory viruses induce lung CD8+ T cell impairment via the PD-1 signaling pathway, previously associated with chronic infections and cancer. His lab uses in vitro and mouse models to study the mechanisms by which HMPV interacts with and modulates the innate and adaptive immune systems. He is the author of >120 peer-reviewed research publications. He has directly mentored 7 graduate students (including 3 MSTP students); 6 MD fellows, 5 of who are in academic positions (4 physician-scientists, two with R01s); 4 medical students (one now a physician-scientist faculty); and two undergraduate students (both now in residency).

Representative Publications
  1. Erickson JJ, Gilchuk P, Hastings AK, Tollefson, SJ, Johnson M, Downing MB, Boyd KL, Johnson JE, Kim AS, Joyce S, Williams JV. Viral acute lower respiratory infections impair CD8+ T cells through PD-1. J Clin Invest 2012 Aug 1;122(8):2967-82. PMCID: PMC3408742
  2. Schuster JE, Cox RG, Hastings AK, Boyd KL, Wadia J, Chen Z, Burton DR, Williamson RA, Williams JV.  A Broadly Neutralizing Human Monoclonal Antibody Exhibits In Vivo Efficacy Against Both Human Metapneumovirus And Respiratory Syncytial Virus. J Infect Dis 2014, in press. PMID: 24864121
  3. Cox RG, Mainou B, Johnson M, Hastings AK, Schuster JE, Dermody TS, Williams JV. Human Metapneumovirus is Capable of Entering Cells by Fusion with Endosomal Membranes. PLOS Pathog 2015, in press.
  4. Hastings AK, Gilchuk P, Joyce S, Williams JV. Novel HLA-A2-restricted human metapneumovirus epitopes reduce viral titers in mice and are recognized by human T cells. Vaccine 2016 2016 May 23;34(24):2663-70. PMID: 27105560.
  5. Xu J, Zhang Y, Williams JV. Development and optimization of a direct plaque assay for trypsin-dependent human metapneumovirus strains. J Virol Methods. 2018 May 25. pii: S0166-0934(18)30116-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2018.05.012. PMID: 29807042
  6. Rogers MC, Lamens KD, Shafagati N, Johnson M, Oury TD, Joyce S, Williams JV. CD4+ regulatory T cells exert differential functions during early and late stages of the immune response to respiratory viruses. J Immunol 2018 Jul 11. pii: ji1800096. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1800096. PMID: 29997123

(*Williams trainees are italicized*)