Don Gammon, Ph.D.
Endowed Title W.W. Caruth, Jr. Scholar in Biomedical Research
Graduate Programs Molecular Microbiology
Dr. Gammon received his B.S. degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Windsor (Windsor, Canada) and went on to obtain his Ph.D. in Virology at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada) in the laboratory of Dr. David Evans. While at the University of Alberta, Dr. Gammon’s research helped to elucidate the genetic and biochemical nature of poxvirus resistance to clinically-important acyclic nucleoside phosphonate drugs. In addition, he identified an unusual role for poxvirus DNA polymerase proofreading activity in catalyzing genetic recombination in virus-infected cells. His work also showed that poxviruses usurp host nucleotide biosynthetic machinery by forming novel “chimeric” ribonucleotide reductase enzymes that contain both viral and host proteins. This discovery led to Drs. Gammon and Evans obtaining a U.S. patent for the use of ribonucleotide reductase-deficient poxviruses in oncolytic virotherapy.
Upon completion of his graduate research, Dr. Gammon pursued post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate, Dr. Craig Mello, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In the Mello laboratory, he developed novel RNA virus-Lepidopteran (moth and butterfly) host systems to uncover both the immunity mechanisms used by eukaryotic organisms to restrict virus replication as well as the strategies viruses employ to counter such restrictions. These model systems arose from the observation that certain arboviruses undergo an abortive infection in Lepidopteran cells yet can replicate in these cells when host immunity is compromised during co-infection with other viruses, such as poxviruses. Using these model systems, his work has uncovered multiple conserved eukaryotic host factors that restrict arbovirus replication. These studies also identified a new family of highly conserved, microtubule-stabilizing virulence factors encoded by poxviruses that promote virus replication in Lepidopteran and vertebrate hosts. The Gammon laboratory uses a wide variety of cell culture-, virology-, molecular/cell biology, immunology, and biochemistry-related techniques to explore virus-host interplay. Using this multifaceted approach, along with newly-developed virus-host systems, Dr. Gammon’s team seeks to define the viral and host factors that ultimately determine virus host range and disease outcomes.
- University of Windsor (2004), Biological Sciences
- Graduate School
- University of Alberta (2010), Virology
- Host-pathogen interactions
- Invertebrate host model systems
- RNA/DNA virus replication, immune evasion, and pathogenesis
- Viral manipulation of host cytoskeletal networks
- Gypsy moth genome provides insights into flight capability and virus-host interactions.
- Zhang J, Cong Q, Rex EA, Hallwachs W, Janzen DH, Grishin NV, Gammon DB Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2019 Jan
- The Antiviral RNA Interference Response Provides Resistance to Lethal Arbovirus Infection and Vertical Transmission in Caenorhabditis elegans.
- Gammon DB, Ishidate T, Li L, Gu W, Silverman N, Mello CC Curr. Biol. 2017 Mar 27 6 795-806
- A single vertebrate DNA virus protein disarms invertebrate immunity to RNA virus infection.
- Gammon DB, Duraffour S, Rozelle DK, Hehnly H, Sharma R, Sparks ME, West CC, Chen Y, Moresco JJ, Andrei G, Connor JH, Conte D, Gundersen-Rindal DE, Marshall WL, Yates JR, Silverman N, Mello CC Elife 2014 Jun 3
- Vaccinia virus-encoded ribonucleotide reductase subunits are differentially required for replication and pathogenesis.
- Gammon DB, Gowrishankar B, Duraffour S, Andrei G, Upton C, Evans DH PLoS Pathog. 2010 Jul 6 7 e1000984
- IIV-6 Inhibits NF-?B Responses in Drosophila.
- West C, Rus F, Chen Y, Kleino A, Gangloff M, Gammon DB, Silverman N, Viruses 2019 May 11 5
- Arbovirus Infections As Screening Tools for the Identification of Viral Immunomodulators and Host Antiviral Factors.
- Rex EA, Seo D, Gammon DB J Vis Exp 2018 Sep 139
- Infection of Caenorhabditis elegans with Vesicular Stomatitis Virus via Microinjection.
- Martin A, Rex EA, Ishidate T, Lin R, Gammon DB Bio Protoc 2017 Nov 7 22
- Caenorhabditis elegans as an Emerging Model for Virus-Host Interactions.
- Gammon DB J. Virol. 2017 Sep
- Influenza A virus preferentially snatches noncoding RNA caps.
- Gu W, Gallagher GR, Dai W, Liu P, Li R, Trombly MI, Gammon DB, Mello CC, Wang JP, Finberg RW RNA 2015 Dec 21 12 2067-75
- RNA interference-mediated antiviral defense in insects.
- Gammon DB, Mello CC Curr Opin Insect Sci 2015 Apr 8 111-120
Honors & Awards
- Alberta Innovates Health Solutions Fellowship
- Canadian Association for Graduate Studies Distinguished Dissertation Award
- Govenor General's Academic Gold Medal
- Izaak Walton Killam Scholar
- Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Fellowship
- Ralph Steinhauer Award of Distinction
- American Society for Virology (2005)