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John V. Williams, MD

Dr. John Williams


Fax: 412-692-7636
9122 Rangos Research Building
4401 Penn Avenue


MD, Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University

BA in Biology, University of Virginia

Academic Affiliation(s)

Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Member, Molecular Virology and Microbiology Graduate Program


The Williams laboratory studies the immunology and pathogenesis of human metapneumovirus (HMPV) and other respiratory viruses. HMPV, a paramyxovirus discovered in 2001, is a leading cause of acute lower respiratory illness in infants, children, the elderly, and persons with underlying medical conditions. There are no licensed antivirals or vaccines for HMPV and little is known about protective immunity and viral pathogenesis. We have developed animal models for HMPV, purified prototype viral strains, generated recombinant viral proteins and identified a cellular receptor. Our group discovered that HMPV and other respiratory viruses lead to pulmonary CD8+ T cell impairment via signaling through Programmed Death-1 (PD-1) and other inhibitory receptors. We seek to understand the immunobiology of this important human pathogen, to elucidate mechanisms of lung CD8+ T cell impairment, and to facilitate the development of preventive and therapeutic strategies. 

Lab Personnel

Monika Johnson, MS; Lab manager

Amy Kinzler, BA; Research Technician

Santiago Lopez, MD; Postdoctoral Fellow

Meredith Rogers; MD/PhD graduate student

Nazly Shafagati, PhD; Postdoctoral Fellow

Jiuyang Xu; Medical Student Research Scholar

Yu Zhang, PhD; Postdoctoral Fellow

Areas of Interest

Respiratory viruses; human metapneumovirus; lung immunology; CD8+ T cell impairment; vaccines


Hastings AK, Gilchuk P, Joyce S and Williams JV. (2016) Novel HLA-A2-restricted human metapneumovirus epitopes reduce viral titers in mice and are recognized by human T cells. Vaccine. 34: 2663-2670. |  View Abstract

Erickson JJ, Rogers MC, Tollefson SJ, Boyd KL and Williams JV. (2016) Multiple inhibitory pathways contribute to lung CD8+ T cell impairment and protect against immunopathology during acute viral respiratory infection. J Immunol. 197: 233-243. |  View Abstract

Cox RG, Mainou B, Johnson M, Hastings AK, Schuster JE, Dermody TS and Williams JV. (2015) Human Metapneumovirus is Capable of Entering Cells by Fusion with Endosomal Membranes. PLOS Pathos. 11: e1005303 |  View Abstract

Wen S.C, Schuster J.E, Gilchuk P, Boyd K.L, Joyce S and Williams J.V. (2015) Lung CD8+ T Cell Impairment Occurs during Human Metapneumovirus Infection despite Virus-Like Particle Induction of Functional CD8+ T Cells. J Virol. 89: 8713-8726. |  View Abstract

Schuster J.E, Cox R.G, Hastings A.K, Boyd K.L, Wadia J, Chen Z, Burton D.R, Williamson R.A. and Williams J.V. (2015) A broadly neutralizing human monoclonal antibody exhibits in vivo efficacy against both human metapneumovirus and respiratory syncytial virus. J Infect Dis. 211: 216-225. |  View Abstract

Erickson J.J, Gilchuk P, Hastings A.K, Tollefson S.J, Johnson M, Downing M.B, Boyd K.L, Johnson J.E, Kim A.S, Joyce S. and Williams J.V. (2012) Viral acute lower respiratory infections impair CD8+ T cells through PD-1. J Clin Invest. 122: 2967-2982. |  View Abstract

Cseke G, Maginnis M.S, Cox R.G, Tollefson S.J, Podsiad A.B, Wright D.W, Dermody T.S. and Williams J.V. (2009) Integrin alphavbeta1 promotes infection by human metapneumovirus. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 106: 1566-1571. |  View Abstract