Ronald C. Montelaro, PhD

Professor Emeritus

Dr. Montelaro


Fax: 412-624-4440

417 Bridgeside Point II

450 Technology Drive

Pittsburgh, PA 15219-3143


PhD in Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Research Summary

The primary focus of the Montelaro lab is to elucidate the intricate interactions between viral pathogens and host immune responses to determine the mechanisms by with host immunity contributes to protection and disease and to serve as a basis for the development of effective vaccines. A particular interest of the lab is to develop effective strategies to overcome the challenge of natural viral antigenic variation that has evolved as a common complication to the development of effective vaccines to important viral diseases, including those related to biodefense and emerging infectious diseases. Systems currently under investigation include HIV-1 and related animal lentiviruses (SHIV, SIV, and EIAV), dengue virus, and influenza virus. Studies in these systems include investigation of the nature and role of antigenic variation during infection, the development of novel assays to characterize virus-specific innate, humoral, and cellular immune responses, and the design of engineered immunogens for effective vaccination against variant strains of a particular virus. In addition to these vaccine related studies, the lab also maintains a research program to develop novel de novo antimicrobial peptides (engineered cationic amphipathic peptides, or eCAPs) that can be used to inactivate a diverse spectrum of bacteria or enveloped viruses in a prophylactic or therapeutic treatment modalities.


Steckbeck, J. D; Sun, C; Sturgeon, T. J. and Montelaro, R. C. (2013) Detailed Topology Mapping Reveals Substantial Exposure of the "Cytoplasmic" C-Terminal Tail (CTT) Sequences in HIV-1 Env Proteins at the Cell Surface. PLoS One. 8: e65220 |  View Abstract

Paranjape, S; Lauer, T; Montelaro, R., and Mietzner, T. (2013) Modulation of proinflammatory activity by the engineered cationic antimicrobial peptide WLBU-2. F1000Research 2:36 (doi:10.34 10/f1000research.2-36.v1) |  

Deslouches, B; Steckbeck, J. D; Craigo, J. K; Doi, Y; Mietzner, T. A. and Montelaro, R. C. (2013) Rational design of engineered cationic antimicrobial peptides consisting exclusively of arginine and tryptophan, and their activity against multidrug-resistant pathogens. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 57: 2511-2521. |  View Abstract

Craigo, J. K; Ezzelarab, C; Cook, S. J; Chong, L; Horohov, D; Issel, C. J. and Montelaro, R. C. (2013) Envelope determinants of equine lentiviral vaccine protection. PLoS One. 8: e66093 |  View Abstract

Shen, C; Ding, M; Ratner, D; Montelaro, R. C; Chen, Y. and Gupta, P. (2012) Evaluation of cervical mucosa in transmission bottleneck during acute HIV-1 infection using a cervical tissue-based organ culture. PLoS One. 7: e32539 |  View Abstract

Liu, C; Cook, F. R; Cook, S. J; Craigo, J. K; Even, D. L; Issel, C. J; Montelaro, R. C. and Horohov, D. W. (2012) The determination of in vivo envelope-specific cell-mediated immune responses in equine infectious anemia virus-infected ponies. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 148: 302-310. |  View Abstract

Bello, N. F; Dussupt, V; Sette, P; Rudd, V; Nagashima, K; Bibollet-Ruche, F; Chen, C; Montelaro, R. C; Hahn, B. H. and Bouamr, F. (2012) Budding of retroviruses utilizing divergent L domains requires nucleocapsid. J Virol. 86: 4182-4193. |  View Abstract