Moriah Szpara

Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Biology

Moriah Szpara

Research Summary

How genetic variation influences the outcomes of viral infection, particularly for neurotropic viruses such as herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and HSV-2, using high-throughput sequencing, comparative genomics, neuronal cultures, and genetic manipulation of both host and pathogen.

Huck Graduate Students

Huck Affiliations


Publication Tags

Human Herpesvirus 1 Viruses Genome Dna Genes Simplexvirus Infection Herpesviridae Cells Viral Dna Virulence Mutation Viral Genome Proteins Virus Diseases In Vitro Techniques Nucleocapsid Genomics Neurons North America Interferons Virus Replication Galaxies Population Virus Assembly

Most Recent Papers

Genome sequence of the virulent model herpes simplex virus 1 strain McKrae demonstrates the presence of at least two widely used variant strains

Daniel W. Renner, Lance Parsons, Jacob T. Shreve, Esteban A. Engel, Chad V. Kuny, Lynn Enquist, Donna Neumann, Colleen Mangold, Moriah L. Szpara, 2021, Microbiology Resource Announcements

Viral infection of human neurons triggers strain-specific differences in host neuronal and viral transcriptomes

Colleen A. Mangold, Molly M. Rathbun, Daniel W. Renner, Chad V. Kuny, Moriah L. Szpara, 2021, PLoS Pathogens

Alphaherpesvirus genomics

Chad V. Kuny, Moriah L. Szpara, 2021, Current Issues in Molecular Biology on p. 41-80

Interferon-independent STING signaling promotes resistance to HSV-1 in vivo

Lívia H. Yamashiro, Stephen C. Wilson, Huntly M. Morrison, Vasiliki Karalis, Jing Yi J. Chung, Katherine J. Chen, Helen S. Bateup, Moriah L. Szpara, Angus Y. Lee, Jeffery S. Cox, Russell E. Vance, 2020, Nature Communications

Alphaherpesvirus Genomics: Past, Present and Future.

Moriah Szpara, 2020, on p. 41-80

Oligonucleotide Enrichment of HSV-1 Genomic DNA from Clinical Specimens for Use in High-Throughput Sequencing

Mackenzie M. Shipley, Molly M. Rathbun, Moriah L. Szpara, 2020, on p. 199-217

In vitro evolution of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) reveals selection for syncytia and other minor variants in cell culture

Chad V. Kuny, Christopher D. Bowen, Daniel W. Renner, Christine M. Johnston, Moriah L. Szpara, 2020, Virus Evolution

In vitro evolution of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) reveals selection for syncytia and other minor variants in cell culture

Chad Kuny, Christopher Bowen, Daniel Renner, Christine Johnston, Moriah Szpara, 2020, Virus Evolution

Viral Genetic Diversity and Its Potential Contributions to the Development and Progression of Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) Disease

Lisa N. Akhtar, Moriah L. Szpara, 2019, Current Clinical Microbiology Reports on p. 249-256

Persistent infection with herpes simplex virus 1 and Alzheimer's disease-a call to study how variability in both virus and host may impact disease

Colleen A. Mangold, Moriah L. Szpara, 2019, Viruses

Most-Cited Papers

Evolution and diversity in human herpes simplex virus genomes

Moriah L. Szpara, Derek Gatherer, Alejandro Ochoa, Benjamin Greenbaum, Aidan Dolan, Rory J. Bowden, Lynn W. Enquist, Matthieu Legendre, Andrew J. Davison, 2014, Journal of Virology on p. 1209-1227

A wide extent of inter-strain diversity in virulent and vaccine strains of Alphaherpesviruses

Moriah L. Szpara, Yolanda R. Tafuri, Lance Parsons, S. Rafi Shamim, Kevin J. Verstrepen, Matthieu Legendre, L. W. Enquist, 2011, PLoS Pathogens on p. 1-23

Differentiation of the SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cell line

Mackenzie M. Shipley, Colleen A. Mangold, Moriah L. Szpara, 2016, Journal of Visualized Experiments

Rapid genome assembly and comparison decode intrastrain variation in human alphaherpesviruses

Lance Parsons, Yolanda Tafuri, Jacob Shreve, Christopher Bowen, Mackenzie Shipley, L. Enquist, Moriah Szpara, 2015, mBio on p. e02213--14

Herpes simplex virus 1 pUL34 plays a critical role in cell-to-cell spread of virus in addition to its role in virus replication

Alison C. Haugo, Moriah L. Szpara, Lance Parsons, Lynn W. Enquist, Richard J. Roller, 2011, Journal of Virology on p. 7203-7215

Impacts of genome-wide analyses on our understanding of human herpesvirus diversity and evolution

Daniel W. Renner, Moriah L. Szpara, 2018, Journal of Virology

Preparation of viral DNA from nucleocapsids

Moriah L. Szpara, Yolanda R. Tafuri, L. W. Enquist, 2011, Journal of Visualized Experiments

VirAmp: A galaxy-based viral genome assembly pipeline

Yinan Wan, Daniel W. Renner, Istvan Albert, Moriah L. Szpara, 2015, GigaScience

A phylogenomic analysis of Marek's disease virus reveals independent paths to virulence in Eurasia and North America

Jakob Trimpert, Nicole Groenke, Maria Jenckel, Shulin He, Dusan Kunec, Moriah Louise Szpara, Stephen J. Spatz, Nikolaus Osterrieder, Dino P. McMahon, 2017, Evolutionary Applications on p. 1091-1101

Viral forensic genomics reveals the relatedness of classic herpes simplex virus strains KOS, KOS63, and KOS79

Christopher D. Bowen, Daniel W. Renner, Jacob T. Shreve, Yolanda Tafuri, Kimberly M. Payne, Richard D. Dix, Paul R. Kinchington, Derek Gatherer, Moriah L. Szpara, 2016, Virology on p. 179-186

News Articles Featuring Moriah Szpara

Exploring variations in herpes virus symptoms

Why do some people with cold sores around their lips experience painful lesions, while others have no symptoms at all, yet still spread the virus? A new study conducted at Penn State finds that these differences could be due to variations in the way certain strains of herpes simplex (HSV-1) — the virus that causes cold sores, as well as genital herpes — activate gene expression in neurons.

Penn State virologist Szpara to co-host COVID-19 vaccine education town halls

Moriah Szpara, associate professor of biology and of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State, will co-host two COVID-19 vaccine education town halls at 7 p.m. EST on Wednesday, March 31, and Wednesday, April 7, with Benhur Lee of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

New Design Helps N95 Mask Wearers Breathe Easier

Wearing high-grade filter masks can help protect against the novel coronavirus. But after a few hours, these tight-fitting devices can also make it really hard to breathe. N95 respirators, for example, are famously good at blocking viral particles—but they can also reduce the amount of available oxygen by up to 20 percent. Now some Stanford University researchers are addressing this problem with a portable device that pumps pure O2 directly to the wearer.

New decontamination protocol permits reuse of N95 respirators

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a shortage of personal protective equipment, including “N95” respirators, needed by frontline healthcare providers. A new protocol using aerosolized hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate N95 respirators could allow them to be safely reused in some hospital settings, where the disinfectant is already being used for other decontamination purposes.