Contact Information
Michael A. Thomas, PhD
Assistant Professor - Department of Biology
Office Location: EE Just Hall Room 333
Office Telephone: 202-806-6941
Laboratory Location: EE Just Hall Room 229

B.S., University of California, Los Angeles (1994)
Ph.D., Wake Forest University School of Medicine (2007)
Postdoctoral Fellow, IBRI, Vaccine Branch, NCI, NIH (2015)

Virology (BIOL/BIOLG421)
Direct Readings for Sophomores (BIOL218)

Grants and Funding
NIAID-NIH Pathway to Independence (2015-2017; PI)

Research Interests
Virus-Host Interaction
Vaccine Design and Development
Cancer Biology and Therapeutics

Research Detailed

HIV Vaccine Design and Development: Viruses are the most abundant entities in this biosphere. While largely known for their disruptive potential and the heavy toll they can take on human health, viruses can also be used as instruments to improve health. A research focus in the Thomas lab centers on providing a better understanding of virus-host cell interactions that influence the immune responses generated against replicating adenovirus vectors and inserted HIV-transgenes. Our objective is to use this understanding to design and develop an effective HIV vaccine.

Cancer Biology and Therapeutics: Adenovirus perturbs many of the pathways active in the development of cancer. These interactions support an additional research focus of our lab that enables us to 1) gain a better understanding of key events that occurs in cancer and 2) further understand how adenovirus causes disease (pathogenesis). We are also interested in exploring ways in which we can apply the lessons learned from our HIV vaccine studies to other endeavors, such as the creation of a therapeutic cancer vaccines.

Research Opportunities: Students in the Thomas lab will have the opportunity to acquire and develop skills in advanced immunology, molecular virology, cellular biology and other areas of biomedical research. Most of the studies are translated from cells to mice to nonhuman primates and, we hope, eventually to humans.

Selected Publications

  Thomas MA, Nyanhete T, Tuero I, Venzon D, Robert-Guroff M. Beyond Oncolytics: E1B55K-Deleted Adenovirus as a Vaccine Delivery Vector. PLoS One. 2016 Jul 8;11(7):e0158505. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0158505. eCollection 2016.
  Thomas, M.A., Tuero, I., Demberg, T., Vargas-Inchaustegui, D.A., Musich, T., Xiao, P., Venzon, D., Labranche, C., Montefiori, D.C., DiPasquale, J., Reed, S.G., DeVico, A., Fouts, T., Lewis, G.K., Gallo, R.C., and Robert-Guroff, M.:  HIV-1 CD4-induced (CD4i) gp120 epitope vaccines promote B and T-cell responses that contribute to reduced viral loads in rhesus macaques.  Virology, 471-473:  81-92, 2014.  doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2014.10.001
  Thomas, M.A., Thorsten Demberg, Diego A. Vargas-Inchaustegui, Peng Xiao, Iskra Tuero, David Venzon, Deborah Weiss, James Treece, and Marjorie Robert-Guroff:  Rhesus macaque rectal and duodenal tissues exhibit B-cell sub-populations distinct from peripheral blood that continuously secrete antigen-specific IgA in short-term explant cultures. Vaccine, 32: 872-80, 2014.
  Thomas, M.A., Song, R., Demberg, T., Vargas-Inchaustegui, D.A., Venzon D., and Robert-Guroff, M.:  Effects of the deletion of early region 4 (E4) open reading frame 1 (orf1), orf1-2, orf1-3 and orf1-4 on virus-host cell interaction, transgene expression, and immunogenicity of replicating adenovirus HIV vaccine vectors. PLoS ONE 8(10): e76344. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076344, 2013
  Xiao, P., Patterson, L.J., Kuate, S., Brocca-Cofano, E., Thomas, M.A., Venzon, D., Zhao, J., DiPasquale, J., Fenizia, C., Lee, E.M., Kalisz, I., Kalyanaraman, V.S., Pal, R., Montefiori, D., Keele, B.F., and Robert-Guroff, M.:  Replicating adenovirus-SIV recombinant priming and envelope protein boosting elicits localized, mucosal IgA immunity in rhesus macaques correlated with delayed acquisition following a repeated low dose rectal SIVmac251 challenge.  J. Virol., 86: 4644-4657, 2012.
  Qureshi, H., Ma, Z.M., Huang, Y., Hodge, G., Thomas, M.A., DiPasquale, J., DeSilva, V., Fritts, L., Bett, A.J., Casimiro, D., Shiver, J.W., Robert-Guroff, M., Robertson, M.N., McChesney, M.B., Gilbert, P.B., and Miller, C.J.:  Low dose penile SIVmac251 exposure of rhesus macaques infected with adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) and then immunized with a replication defective Ad5-based SIV gag/pol/nef vaccine recapitulates the results of the Phase IIb Step trial of a similar HIV-1 vaccine.  J.Virol., 86: 2239-2250, 2012.
  Thomas, M.A., Broughton, R.S., Goodrum, F.D., and Ornelles, D. A.:  E4orf1 limits the oncolytic potential of the E1B-55K-deleted adenovirus.  J. Virol., 83: 2406-2416, 2009.