Laurie A. Silva, PhD

  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Administrative Assistant: Colleen Kelly

Dr. Silva earned her undergraduate degrees at Oklahoma State University with double majors in Molecular Biology and Microbiology. She received her Ph.D. in Virology at Harvard University studying viral replication proteins of herpesviruses. Trained as a virologist, Dr. Silva has been studying chikungunya virus for over ten years and leads a research program on the biology of chikungunya virus. Dr. Silva’s research interests are focused on virus-host interactions that dictate chikungunya virus entry, replication within cells, tropism, and pathogenesis. Dr. Silva also serves as the BSL3 Facility Manager for the A-BSL3 Facility at Rangos Research Center. 

Education & Training

  • BS, Oklahoma State University, 2000
  • PhD, Harvard University, 2009
  • Research Fellow, Vanderbilt University, 2013

Selected Publications

Lentscher AJ, McCarthy MK, May NA, Davenport BJ, Montgomery SA, Raghunathan K, McAllister N, Silva LA, Morrison TE, Dermody TS. Chikungunya virus replication in skeletal muscle cells is required for disease development. J Clin Invest. 2020 Mar 2;130(3):1466-1478. doi: 10.1172/JCI129893.  PMCID: PMC7269570 

Ashbrook AW, Lentscher AJ, Zamora PF, Silva LA, May NA, Bauer JA, Morrison TE, Dermody TS. Antagonism of the Sodium-Potassium ATPase Impairs Chikungunya Virus Infection. MBio. 2016 May 24;7(3). pii: e00693-16. PMCID: PMC4895112

Smith SA*, Silva LA*, Fox JM, Flyak AI, Kose N, Sapparapu G, Khomandiak S, Ashbrook AW, Kahle KM, Fong RH, Swayne S, Doranz BJ, McGee CE, Heise MT, Pal P, Brien JD, Austin SK, Diamond MS, Dermody TS, Crowe JE Jr. Isolation and Characterization of Broad and Ultrapotent Human Monoclonal Antibodies with Therapeutic Activity against Chikungunya Virus. *authors contributed equally. Cell Host Microbe. 2015 Jul 8;18(1):86-95. PMCID: PMC4501771  

Ashbrook AW, Burrack KS, Silva LA, Montgomery SA, Heise MT, Morrison TE, Dermody TS. Residue 82 of the Chikungunya virus E2 attachment protein modulates viral dissemination and arthritis in mice. J Virol. 2014 Nov;88(21):12180-92. PMCID: PMC4248890 

Silva LA, Khomandiak S, Ashbrook AW, Weller R, Heise MT, Morrison TE, Dermody TS. A single-amino-acid polymorphism in Chikungunya virus E2 glycoprotein influences glycosaminoglycan utilization. J Virol. 2014 Mar;88(5):2385-97. PMCID: PMC3958064 

Silva LA, Strang BL, Lin EW, Kamil JP, Coen DM. Sites and roles of phosphorylation of the human cytomegalovirus DNA polymerase subunit UL44. Virology. 2011 Sep 1;417(2):268-80. PMCID: PMC3434964 

Silva LA, Loregian A, Pari GS, Strang BL, Coen DM. The carboxy-terminal segment of the human cytomegalovirus DNA polymerase accessory subunit UL44 is crucial for viral replication. J Virol. 2010 Nov;84(21):11563-8. PMCID: PMC2953201 

Strang BL, Sinigalia E, Silva LA, Coen DM, Loregian A. Analysis of the association of the human cytomegalovirus DNA polymerase subunit UL44 with the viral DNA replication factor UL84. J Virol. 2009 Aug;83(15):7581-9. PMCID: PMC2708651

Hamirally S, Kamil JP, Ndassa-Colday YM, Lin AJ, Jahng WJ, Baek MC, Noton S, Silva LA, Simpson-Holley M, Knipe DM, Golan DE, Marto JA, Coen DM. Viral mimicry of Cdc2/cyclin-dependent kinase 1 mediates disruption of nuclear lamina during human cytomegalovirus nuclear egress. PLoS Pathog. 2009 Jan;5(1):e1000275. PMCID: PMC2625439 

Link MA, Silva LA, Schaffer PA. Cathepsin B mediates cleavage of herpes simplex virus type 1 origin binding protein (OBP) to yield OBPC-1, and cleavage is dependent upon viral DNA replication. J Virol. 2007 Sep;81(17):9175-82. PMCID: PMC1951438 


Academic and Research Interests

Chikungunya virus is an emerging, mosquito-borne alphavirus that causes an acute febrile illness called chikungunya fever characterized by a maculopapular rash and incapacitating arthralgia. Acute disease can evolve into chronic arthritis in a substantial subset of patients, with symptoms persisting for months to years. Over the past fifteen years, the geographic range of the virus has expanded drastically, spreading to regions historically free of the virus, including islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans and numerous countries in the Caribbean and South and Central America. Currently, there are no licensed vaccines or therapeutics to prevent or treat infections caused by chikungunya virus. Addressing knowledge gaps in virus-host interactions and the factors that govern tissue tropism, dissemination, and pathogenesis is critical for development of treatments for this important human pathogen. 

The research in her lab centers on virus-host interactions required for chikungunya virus to initiate and complete its replication cycle within cells and establish infection and spread within a host. Using a multidisciplinary approach, she is investigating mechanisms of CHIKV cell entry, replication, and pathogenesis, with the goal of better understanding the viral and host factors that dictate CHIKV virulence, which will inform strategies for the development of antiviral therapeutics and vaccines.

Research Grants

NIH/NIAIDSilva, LA (PI)07/01/11-06/30/14 
F32 AI096833Mechanisms of Chikungunya Virus Binding and Entry