Anthony Griffiths, Ph.D.

Griffiths 2011


The family Filoviridae includes Ebola virus and Marburg virus, which are associated with sporadic outbreaks and high case fatality rates. A maximum containment laboratory (Biosafety Level-4) is required to study infectious forms of these viruses, and we have a full-suit BSL-4 laboratory at Texas Biomed. Our laboratory is interested in multiple aspects of filovirus biology with a view to exploiting this knowledge to further the development of vaccines and therapeutics.

Typically, RNA viruses have high spontaneous mutation rates due to error prone RNA-dependent RNA polymerases. The consequences of high spontaneous mutation and replication rates are populations composed of heterogeneous swarms of related variant sequences, sometimes called quasispecies. We are investigating the importance of this diversity to filovirus replication and pathogenesis in vitro and in vivo and are particularly interested in exploiting the mutation rate as a therapeutic mechanism. Specifically, we work to understand the roles of the individual genotype populations in virus infection; for example, in any Ebola virus population there is a mixture of genotypes that appear to control the expression of different forms of the virus glycoprotein (GP). The ratios of the genotypes is dynamic and changes dependent on the origin species of cells used to propagate virus, and even in an infected animal. These changes are certainly important for the development of vaccines and therapeutic – that require animal models – but also for viral pathogenesis.

Many of these studies exploit recent advances in sequencing. We have several Illumina sequencing machines on our campus and a miSeq in our laboratory. This system permits quantification of the individual viral genotypes in a sample and we have developed techniques to rapidly sequence whole viral genomes, including the 5’ and 3’ termini. We are expanding the use of these machines into other areas including gene expression and ribosomal profiling of cells and tissues infected with BSL-4 pathogens.

Selected Publications

K. Alfson, L. Avena, M. Beadles, H. Staples, J. Nunneley, A. Ticer, E. Dick, M. Owston, C. Reed, J. Patterson, R. Carrion, and A. Griffiths. Particle to plaque-forming unit ratio of Ebola virus influences disease course and survival in cynomolgus macaques. Journal of Virology. In press.

M.-H. Lee, M. Rostal, T. Hughes, F. Sitam, C.-Y. Lee, J. Japning, M. Harden, A. Griffiths, M. Basir, N. Wolfe, J. Epstein, P. Daszak. Macacine herpesvirus 1 in long tailed macaques, Malaysia, 2009-2011. Emerging Infectious Diseases. In press.

K. Alfson, L. Avena, M. Beadles, H. Menzie, J. Patterson, R. Carrion, and A. Griffiths. Genetic changes at the glycoprotein editing site associated with serial passage of Sudan virus. Journal of Infectious Diseases. In press.

Alfson, K.J., M.W. Beadles, A. Griffiths. A new approach to determining whole viral genomic sequences including termini using a single deep sequencing run. J Virol Methods 208 (1-5): 2014

Fan Q, Amen M, Harden M, Severini A, Griffiths A, Longnecker R. Herpes B virus utilizes human nectin-1 but not HVEM or PILRα for cell-cell fusion and virus entry. J Virol. 2012 Apr;86(8):4468-76.

Shurtleff AC, Garza N, Lackemeyer M, Carrion R Jr, Griffiths A, Patterson J, Edwin SS, Bavari S. The impact of regulations, safety considerations and physical limitations on research progress at maximum biocontainment. Viruses. 2012 Dec;4(12):3932-51.

Shurtleff AC, Biggins JE, Keeney AE, Zumbrun EE, Bloomfield HA, Kuehne A, Audet JL, Alfson KJ, Griffiths A, Olinger GG, Bavari S; Filovirus Animal Nonclinical Group (FANG) Assay Working Group. Standardization of the filovirus plaque assay for use in preclinical studies. Viruses. 2012 Dec 6;4(12):3511-30.

Amen MA, Griffiths A. Packaging of Non-Coding RNAs into Herpesvirus Virions: Comparisons to Coding RNAs. Front Genet. 2011 Nov 17;2:81.

Amen MA, Griffiths A. Identification and expression analysis of herpes B virus-encoded small RNAs. J Virol. 2011 Jul;85(14):7296-311.

Assistant Scientist
Virology and Immunology
Texas Biomedical Research Institute


Ph.D., University of Cambridge



Phone: (210) 258-9557

Research Profile
More Info...

Graduate Students

Ashley Silvia