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University of Wisconsin–Madison
Wisconsin National Primate Research Center
A legacy of life-saving research and humane animal care

David O’Connor, PhD



David O'Connor

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Contact Information

Other web pages

Aligned research focus

Interplay of genetics and immunity to infectious diseases

Organ system/disease focus

RNA viruses, specifically HIV/AIDS

Research description

Globally, there are more than 30 million individuals living with HIV/AIDS, a number that is growing by approximately 3 million each year. The overarching goal of my laboratory is to contribute meaningfully to the global response to HIV. Though HIV is ultimately a preventable disease, the sheer number of new HIV infections demonstrates that a prophylactic vaccine is desperately needed to augment existing prevention programs. Most vaccine concepts are prototyped in macaques infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). Therefore, our laboratory studies both SIV-infected macaques and HIV-infected people. We seek to understand how genetics affects immunity to these viruses, as well as how these viruses evolve in response to host immunity. Recently we have partnered with researchers studying RNA viruses such as dengue, influenza and simian hemorrhagic fever virus to use techniques developed to study HIV/SIV to improve our understanding of genetics, immunity and pathogenesis.

Selected references

Bailey AL, Lauck M, Ghai RR, Nelson CW, Heimbruch K, Hughes AL, Goldberg TL, Kuhn JH, Jasinska AJ, Freimer NB, Apetrei C, O’Connor DH. Arteriviruses, Pegiviruses, and Lentiviruses Are Common among Wild African Monkeys. J Virol. 2016. Jul 11;90(15):6724-37.

Kallas EG, O’Connor DH. Real-Time Sharing of Zika Virus Data in an Interconnected World. JAMA Pediatr. 2016. Jul 1;170(7):633-4.

Dudley DM, Aliota MT, Mohr EL, Weiler AM, Lehrer-Brey G, Weisgrau KL, Mohns MS, Breitbach ME, Rasheed MN, Newman CM, Gellerup DD, Moncla LH, Post J, Schultz-Darken N, Schotzko ML, Hayes JM, Eudailey JA, Moody MA, Permar SR, O’Connor SL, Rakasz EG, Simmons HA, Capuano S, Golos TG, Osorio JE, Friedrich TC, O’Connor DH. A rhesus macaque model of Asian-lineage Zika virus infection. Nat Commun. 2016. Jun 28;7:12204.

Westbrook CJ, Karl JA, Wiseman RW, Mate S, Koroleva G, Garcia K, Sanchez-Lockhart M, O’Connor DH, Palacios G. No assembly required: Full-length MHC class I allele discovery by PacBio circular consensus sequencing. Hum Immunol. 2015. Dec;76(12):891-6.

Bailey AL, Lauck M, Sibley SD, Friedrich TC, Kuhn JH, Freimer NB, Jasinska AJ, Phillips-Conroy JE, Jolly CJ, Marx PA, Apetrei C, Rogers J, Goldberg TL, O’Connor DH. Zoonotic Potential of Simian Arteriviruses. J Virol. 2015. Nov 11;90(2):630-5.

Bailey AL, Lauck M, Mohns M, Peterson EJ, Beheler K, Brunner KG, Crosno K, Mejia A, Mutschler J, Gehrke M, Greene J, Ericsen AJ, Weiler A, Lehrer-Brey G, Friedrich TC, Sibley SD, Kallas EG, Capuano S 3rd, Rogers J, Goldberg TL, Simmons HA, O’Connor DH. Durable sequence stability and bone marrow tropism in a macaque model of human pegivirus infection. Sci Transl Med. 2015. Sep 16;7(305):305ra144.

Dudley DM, Bailey AL, Mehta SH, Hughes AL, Kirk GD, Westergaard RP, O’Connor DH. Cross-clade simultaneous HIV drug resistance genotyping for reverse transcriptase, protease, and integrase inhibitor mutations by Illumina MiSeq. Retrovirology. 2014. Dec 23;11:122.

Ericsen AJ, Starrett GJ, Greene JM, Lauck M, Raveendran M, Deiros DR, Mohns MS, Vince N, Cain BT, Pham NH, Weinfurter JT, Bailey AL, Budde ML, Wiseman RW, Gibbs R, Muzny D, Friedrich TC, Rogers J, O’Connor DH. Whole genome sequencing of SIV-infected macaques identifies candidate loci that may contribute to host control of virus replication. Genome Biol. 2014. Nov 7;15(11):478.

Wiseman RW, Karl JA, Bohn PS, Nimityongskul FA, Starrett GJ, O’Connor DH. Haplessly hoping: macaque major histocompatibility complex made easy. Review. ILAR J. 2013. 54(2):196-210.

Lauck M, Sibley SD, Hyeroba D, Tumukunde A, Weny G, Chapman CA, Ting N, Switzer WM, Kuhn JH, Friedrich TC, O’Connor DH, Goldberg TL. Exceptional simian hemorrhagic fever virus diversity in a wild African primate community. J Virol. 2013. Jan;87(1):688-91.