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Christopher Robinson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Summary of the focus of the research of Dr. Robinson

The Robinson laboratory focuses on the manner in which enteric viruses navigate the intestinal environment to establish infection and replicate.

Description of the research focus of Dr. Robinson’s laboratory

Enteric viruses initiate infection in the diverse environment of the gastrointestinal tract, yet the impact of this environment on intestinal infection is unclear. Research in the Robinson lab focuses on the complex methods in which enteric viruses traverse the intestinal environment to initiate infection. Specifically, we are interested in identifying intestinal factors that influence viral replication. By characterizing intestinal factors that alter enteric viral virulence, potential therapeutic targets may be identified.

The Robinson lab currently focuses on two major areas of research:

  1. Using coxsackievirus, a model enteric virus, we study how biological sex can influence viral replication in the intestine. Using an oral-inoculated mouse model, we found that, similar to humans, male mice succumb to coxsackievirus-induced disease, whereas females do not. Additionally, coxsackievirus replication in the intestine of male mice is enhanced and may be regulated by sex hormones. Our current studies are focused on using in vitro and in vivo approaches to determine the mechanism behind sex-dependent replication and pathogenesis of coxsackievirus.
  2. The intestine is home to a large community of bacteria that are vital for human health. Emerging data suggest that intestinal bacteria enhance replication and pathogenesis of enteric viruses, yet the mechanism of these interactions remain unclear. The Robinson lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms and consequences of the interactions between intestinal bacteria and enteric viruses using coxsackievirus and other picornaviruses as a model.                   
  • Robinson CM, Wang Y, Pfeiffer JK. Sex-dependent replication of an enteric virus. J Virol. 2017 Mar 13;91(7). pii: e02101-16.
  • Robinson CM, Pfeiffer JK. Virology. Leaping the norovirus hurdle. Science. 2014. Nov 7;346(6210):700-1.
  • Robinson CM, Pfeiffer JK. Viruses and the microbiota. Annu Rev Virol. 2014. Vol. 1. 55-69.
  • Robinson CM*, Jesudhasan PR*, Pfeiffer JK. Bacterial lipopolysaccharide binding enhances virion stability and promotes environmental fitness of an enteric virus. Cell Host Microbe. 2014.15:36-46. [*co-first author].
  • Robinson CM, Singh G, Lee JY, Dehghan S, Rajaiya J, Liu EB, Yousuf MA, Betensky RA, Jones MS, Dyer DW, Seto D, Chodosh J. Molecular evolution of human adenoviruses. Nature Sci. Rep. 2013. May 9;3:1812.
  • Robinson CM*, Zhou X*, Rajaiya J, Yousuf MA, Singh G, DeSerres JJ, Walsh MP, Wong S, Seto D, Dyer DW, Chodosh J, Jones MS. Predicting the next eye pathogen: analysis of a novel adenovirus. mBio. 2013. April 9;(4)2. [*co-first author].

Undergraduate: University of Oklahoma, B.S. in Zoology, 2003

Graduate: University of Oklahoma, Ph.D. in Microbiology/Immunology, 2011

Postdoctoral Fellow: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 2011-2017


Department of Microbiology and Immunology | IU School of Medicine | 635 Barnhill Drive, MS 420 | Indianapolis, IN 46202 | (317) 274-0506