Stefan Rothenburg, Assistant Professor


Contact information

347 Ackert Hall office
(785) 532-5431

Lab website:


PD Dr. med, 2003, University of Hamburg. Virology and Immunology.

Area(s) of specialization

Research Focus

The host innate immune system plays an essential role in detecting invading viruses and in initiating and orchestrating antiviral responses. In order to establish productive infections, viruses have to effectively inhibit this host response. This leads to an evolutionary arms race between the host and the virus.

Our research focuses on the interaction between viruses with the immune system of their hosts. We are studying how viral nucleic acids are detected in vertebrates, which antiviral pathways are activated and how viral molecules interfere with these processes.

Major research objectives are the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms that determine virus host range and virulence. Viral genes that are studied in our laboratory include those from poxviruses, influenza viruses, herpesviruses, iridoviruses, ebola virus and tumor viruses.

Selected Publications

Rahman, M.M., Liu, J., Cahn M.W., Rothenburg, S. and McFadden, G. 2013. Myxoma virus protein M029 is a dual function immunomodulator that inhibits PKR and also conscripts RHA/DHX9 to promote expanded host tropism and viral replication. PLoS Pathogens, 9 (7).

Bratke, K.A., McLysaght, A. and Rothenburg, S. 2013. A survey of host range genes in poxvirus genomes. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 14, 406-425.

Liu, J., Rothenburg, S. and McFadden, G. 2012. The Poxvirus C7L Host Range Factor Superfamily. Current Opinion in Virology, 2:758-766.

Rothenburg, S., Chinchar V.G. and Dever, T.E. 2011. Characterization of a Ranavirus Inhibitor of the Antiviral Protein Kinase PKR. BMC Microbiology, 11:56.

Rothenburg, S., Seo, E., Gibbs, J.S., Dever, T.E. and Dittmar, K. 2009. Rapid evolution of protein kinase PKR alters sensitivity to viral inhibitors. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 16, 63-70.

Rothenburg, S., Deigendesch, N., Dey, M., Dever, T.E. and Tazi, L. 2008. Double-stranded RNA activated protein kinase PKR of fishes and amphibians: varying number of double-stranded RNA binding domains and lineage specific duplications. BMC Biology, 6:12.

Deigendesch, N. Koch-Nolte, F. and Rothenburg, S. 2006. ZBP1 subcellular localization and association with stress granules is controlled by its Z-DNA binding domains.Nucleic Acids Research, 34: 5007-5020.

View the complete publication list in NCBI