Michael Imeriale

Michael J. Imperiale, Ph.D.

Associate VP of Research - Policy and Compliance
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor
Associate Chair

Areas of Interest


Our laboratory studies the molecular biology of the small DNA tumor virus, BK polyomavirus. BKPyV is a ubiquitous human pathogen that establishes a subclinical, persistent infection of the urinary tract during early childhood. In healthy individuals, the virus is excreted periodically into the urine but does not cause disease, but in renal and bone marrow transplant patients, the virus can cause severe and sometimes life threatening illnesses. We are interested in the interplay between viral and host factors that determine whether the virus will persist or replicate in the cell. On the host cell side, our current efforts are focused on both cytoplasmic and nuclear factors with which the virus interacts during infection. We are interested in control of viral replication once it reaches the nucleus, including the role of a virally-encoded miRNA in regulating viral gene expression. In addition, we are investigating the genesis of viral genomic rearrangements that occur in patients with BKPyV disease, which appears to involve the cellular DNA damage response. Since there are no effective antiviral drugs with which to treat transplant patients, we are hopeful that these studies will lead to not only the discovery of important and interesting biology, but to the identification of new therapeutic targets.


Ph.D., Columbia University, 1981

Published Articles or Reviews

Zhao, L. and Imperiale, M.J. (2017). Identification of Rab18 as an essential host factor for BKPyV infection using a whole genome RNA interference screen. mSphere https://doi.org/10.1128/mSphereDirect.00291-17(link is external).

Goetsch, H.E., Zhao, L., Gnegy, M., Imperiale, M.J., Love, N.G. and Wigginton, K.R. (2018). The fate of urinary tract virus BK human polyomavirus in source-separated urine. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 84:e02374-17.

Imperiale, M.J. and Casadevall, A. (2018). A new approach to evaluating the risk-benefit equation for dual use and gain of function research of concern. Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol. 6:21. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2018.00021.

Imperiale, M.J. (2018). Re-creation of horsepox virus. mSphere 3:e00079-18. https://doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00079-18(link is external).

Imperiale, M.J. (2018). JC polyomavirus: Let's please respect privacy. J. Virol. doi:10.1128/JVI.00561-18

Imperiale, M.J., Howard, D., and Casadevall, A. (2018). The silver lining in gain-of-function experiments with pathogens of pandemic potential. Methods Mol. Biol. 1836:575-587.

Ye, Y., Zhao, L., Imperiale, M.J., and Wigginton, K.R. (2019). Integrated cell culture-mass spectrometry method for infectious human virus monitoring. Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 6:407-412.

Mitchell, A., Blader, I., Bradford, P., D'Orazio, S., Duprex, W.P., Ellermeier, C.D., Fernandez-Sesma, A., Imperiale, M.J., McMahon, K., Pasetti, M.F., and Tringe, S. (2019). mSphere of Influence: the view from the microbiologists of the future. mSphere 4:e00348-19. https://doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00348-19(link is external).

Zhao, L. and Imperiale, M.J. (2019). Establishing RPTE-derived cell lines expressing hTERT for studying BK polyomavirus. Microbiol. Resour. Announc., 8:e01129-19. https://doi.org/10.1128/MRA.01129-19(link is external). Also posted to bioRxiv doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/766675(link is external).

DiEuliis, D., Ellington, A.D., Gronvall, G.K., and Imperiale, M.J. (2019). Does biotechnology pose new catastrophic risks?. In: Inglesby, T., Adalja, A. (eds) Global Catastrophic Biological Risks. Curr. Top. Microbiol. Immunol., 424:107-119.

Imperiale, M.J. (2020). Pandemics and people. mSphere 5:e0041020.  https://doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00410-20.

Sáenz Robles, M.T., Cantalupo, P.G., Duray, A.M., Freeland, M., Murkowski, M., van Bokhoven, A., Stephens-Shields, A.J., Pipas, J.M., and Imperiale, M.J. (2020). Analysis of viruses present in urine from patients with interstitial cystitis. Virus Genes 56: 430-438. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11262-020-01767-z.

Imperiale, M.J. (2020). Recurring themes. mSphere 5:e0063320.  https://doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00633-20.

Schloss, P., Junior, M., Alvania, R., Arias, C., Bäumler, A., Casadevall, A., Detweiler, C., Drake, H., Gilbert, J., Imperiale, M.J., Lovett, S., Maloy, S., McAdam, A., Newton, I., Sadowsky, M., Sandri-Goldin, R., Silhavy, T., Tontonoz, P., Young, J., Cameron, C., Cann, I., Fuller, A.O., and Kozik, A.J. (2020). The ASM journals committee values the contributions of black microbiologists. mSphere 5:e00719‑20.  https://doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00719-20. (Published simultaneously in sixteen American Society for Microbiology journals)

Imperiale, M.J. and Casadevall, A. (2020). Re-thinking gain of function experiments in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. mBio 11:e01868‑20. https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.01868-20.

Zou, W., Vue, G.S., Assetta, B., Manza, H., Atwood, W.J., and Imperiale, M.J. (2020). Control of archetype BK polyomavirus miRNA expression. J. Virol. 95:e01589-20. https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01589-20. (Chosen by Editors as a Spotlight Article)

Andrade, M.J., Vue, G.S., and Imperiale, M.J. (2021). The polyomavirus episteme: A database for researchers. Microbiol. Resour. Announc. 10:e00108-21. https://doi.org/10.1128/MRA .00108-21.

Zou, W. and Imperiale, M.J. (2021) Biology of polyomavirus miRNA. Frontiers Microbiol. 2021 Apr 6;12:662892. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.662892.

DeCaprio, J.A., Imperiale, M.J., and Hirsch, H. (2021). Polyomaviruses. Fields Virology, 7th Edition, in press.

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