Megan Culler Freeman, MD, PhD

  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Megan Culler Freeman, MD, PhD is currently a senior Pediatric Infectious Diseases fellow at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Kentucky, and then earned her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at Vanderbilt University, where she studied coronaviruses. Freeman has authored multiple publications in the field and the coronavirus book chapter in the most recent edition of Nelson Pediatrics. She completed her Pediatrics Residency at Children’s as part of the Pediatric Scientist Development Program (PedSDP). She currently works in the laboratory of John Williams, MD, where her research interests include pathogenesis and cell biology of RNA viruses and advanced tissue modeling, with a current focus on enterovirus D68, the hypothesized cause of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) in children. Freeman is the proud recipient of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society-St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Fellowship Program in Basic and Translational Research.

Professional and Scientific Society Memberships

  • American Society for Virology, 2010-Present
  • Infectious Disease Society of America, 2015-Present
  • American Medical Association, 2016-Present
  • Society for Pediatric Research, Junior Member, 2019-Present
  • Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society Member, 2018-Present

Education & Training

  • BS, Agricultural Biotechnology, magna cum laude, University of Kentucky, 2008
  • PhD, Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University, 2014
  • MD, Vanderbilt University, 2016
  • Residency in Pediatrics, UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, 2016-2018
  • Fellowship in Pediatrics Infectious Disease, UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, 2018-2022

Selected Publications

Mitchell SL, Orris S, Freeman T, Freeman MC, Adams M, Axe M, Gribschaw J, Suyama J, Hoberman A, Wells, A. Performance of SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Testing in Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Adults: A Single Center Evaluation. 2021. BMC Infectious Diseases. Under review.

Freeman MC, Sinder A, Gray W, Keljo D, and Kim SC. Pediatric Patients Newly Diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Lack Sufficient Antibody Titers to Vaccine Preventable Illnesses. 2021. Clinical Biochemistry. Under review.

Freeman MC, Wells AI, Ciomperlik-Patton J, Myerburg MM, Yang L, Konopka-Anstadt J, and Coyne CB. Respiratory and intestinal epithelial cells exhibit differential susceptibility and innate immune responses to contemporary EV-D68 isolates. 2021. eLife. Jul 1;10:366687. doi: 10.7554/eLife.66687. PMID: 34196272

Rapsinski GR*, Freeman MC*, Bell S, Hadir G, Wheeler SE. Pediatric SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence During Mitigation Procedures in Southwestern Pennsylvania. 2021. Journal of Clinical Virology Plus. Accepted.

Geisler D, Freeman MC, Rapsinski GJ, Wheeler SE. 2021. Unexpected false positive rates in pediatric SARS-CoV-2 serology using the Euroimmun Anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay. American Journal of Clinical Pathology. 155 (6):773-775. doi: 10.1093/ajcp/aqab033. PMID: 33899091.

Freeman MC, Giaetto K, DiCicco LA, Rauenswinter S, Squire J, Aldewereld Z, Rapsinski G, Iagnemma J, Campfield B, Wolfson D, Kazmerski T, Forno E. 2020. A Comprehensive clinical Description of Pediatric SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Western Pennsylvania. medRxIV. doi:

Freeman MC*^, Rapsinski GR*, Zilla M, and Wheeler SE. 2020. Immunocompromised Seroprevalence and Course of Illness of SARS-CoV-2 in One Pediatric Quaternary Care Center. Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society.

Freeman MC, Haddadin, Z, Lawrence, L, Piya, B, Krishnaswami, S, Faouri, S, Shehabi, A, Williams, JV, Khuri-Bulos, N, and Halasa N. 2020. Utility of RSV Rapid Diagnostic Assays in Hospitalized Children in Amman, Jordan. Journal of Medical Virology. doi: 10.1002/jmv.26546

Wang L, Shi W, Joyce MG, Modjarrad K, Zhang Y, Leung K, Lees CR, Zhou T, Yassine HM, Kanekiyo M, Yang Z, Chen X, Becker M, Freeman MC, Vogel L, Johnson J, Olinger G, Todd JP, Bagci U, Solomaon J, Mollura DJ, Hensley L, Jahrling P, Denison MR, Rao SS, Subbarao K, Kwong PD, Mascola JR, Kong W, Graham, BS. 2015. Evaluation of candidate vaccine approaches for MERS-CoV. Nature Communications. 6:7712. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8712.

Freeman MC, Peek CT, Becker MM, Smith EC, Denison MR. 2014. Coronaviruses induce entry-independent, continuous macropinocytosis. mBio. 5(4):e01340-14

Academic and Research Interests

  • Enterovirus
  • Organoid
  • Coronavirus

Research Grants

Institute for Infection, Inflammation, and Immunity in Children Acute Flaccid Myelitis Pilot Grant, 2021-2023

Pediatric Infectious Disease Society St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Fellowship Award in Basic and Translational Research, 2019-2022