Stanley M. Lemon

MD, Professor, UNC-Chapel Hill, Virology

UNC-Chapel Hill

Area of interest

I have a longstanding interest in the mechanisms by which hepatotropic positive-strand RNA viruses replicate in the liver and cause diseases ranging from acute inflammatory hepatitis to cancer. My laboratory at present focuses on two viruses that are classified within different virus families, hepatitis A virus (HAV, a picornavirus) and hepatitis C virus (HCV, a flavivirus). Our past research has elucidated the structure and function of the 5’ and 3’ untranslated RNAs of these viruses, and among other accomplishments has identified the existence of cis-acting RNA replication elements in picornaviruses, mapped the secondary structure and function of the internal ribosome entry sites (IRESs) of both HAV and HCV, and identified and characterized the unique host function of the microRNA, miR-122, in replication of HCV. Over the past two decades, my interests have evolved to include how these viral RNAs are recognized by host innate immune sensors, how HAV and HCV have evolved similar but also distinct mechanisms to evade antiviral defenses in the liver, and how these events influence inflammation and the development of immunity. More recently, we discovered that HAV is released noncytolytically from cells cloaked in host cell membranes, and circulates in the blood of infected humans in a quasi-enveloped form resistant to neutralizing anti-HAV antibodies. These seminal observations have blurred the classic distinctions between enveloped and non-enveloped viruses, thus challenging some basic, long held tenets of virology.

Awards and Honors

  • 2018 Sabin Lecturer, European Group for the Molecular Biology of Picornaviruses
  • 2014 Fellow, American Association for the Study of the Liver
  • 2009 John Enders Award in Medical Virology, Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA)
  • 2007 Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • 2007 Bruce Witte Annual Lecturer Hepatitis B Foundation
  • 2007 Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • 2003 National Associate National Academy of Sciences
  • 1996 Commissioner’s Special Citation U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • 1989-90 Kenan Research Leave, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 1985 Fellow, Infectious Diseases Society of America
  • 1983 Meritorious Service Medal, U.S. Army Medical Research & Development Command

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