Nicholas J. Maness, PhD

Assistant Professor

Division of Microbiology
(985) 871-6595
School of Medicine
Nicholas Maness, PhD


My lab studies immunovirology of viral infections, particularly in nonhuman primate (NHP) models of human pathogens. We focus primarily on simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and Zika virus (ZIKV) infection of rhesus macaques but we are interested in developing NHP models of other emerging viruses. We use a variety of techniques, ranging from flow cytometry to high throughput RNA sequencing, to understand how viruses and immune systems interact. In SIV, we are currently focused on: 1) Understanding the immunological mechanisms by which vaccine-induced T cells can control pathogenic SIV challenges. To do this, we are using a novel attenuated SIV vaccine termed SIVdeltaGY, which appears to alter distribution of molecular components of the immunologic and virologic synapses, leading to qualitatively enhanced T cell responses that control a diverse array of pathogenic SIV challenge viruses. 2) Using RNA-seq to assess viral (SIV/HIV) and host transcription during latent infection. In ZIKV, we are focused on: 1) Assessing the importance of CD8+ cells (CD8 T cells and NK cells) on ZIKV pathogenesis and viral dissemination. 2) Investigating the infection of fetal microglial cells in infants born to ZIKV infected mothers. Our work involves collaborators at the University of Pennsylvania, Oregon Health and Sciences University, University College London, University of Wisconsin, University of Miami, Tulane University and others. Our goal is to conduct basic research that could contribute to the development of vaccines or therapeutics against important viral pathogens.