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 Simplexvirus Neurons Genes Infections Human Alphaherpesvirus 1 Genomics Infection Genitalia Cells Virulence Herpes Simplex Viral Genome Herpes Genitalis Herpesviridae Phenotype Proteins Population Interferons Transcriptome North America Galaxies Virus Diseases

Most Recent Publications

Herpes Simplex Virus-2 Variation Contributes to Neurovirulence During Neonatal Infection

Cooper K. Hayes, Christopher K. Villota, Fiona B. McEnany, Stacey Cerón, Sita Awasthi, Moriah L. Szpara, Harvey M. Friedman, David A. Leib, Richard Longnecker, Matthew D. Weitzman, Lisa N. Akhtar, 2022, Journal of Infectious Diseases on p. 1499-1509

Christine Johnston, Amalia Magaret, Hyunju Son, Michael Stern, Molly Rathbun, Daniel Renner, Moriah Szpara, Sarah Gunby, Mariliis Ott, Lichen Jing, Victoria L. Campbell, Meei Li Huang, Stacy Selke, Keith R. Jerome, David M. Koelle, Anna Wald, 2022, JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association on p. 1730-1739

Multi-phenotype analysis for enhanced classification of 11 herpes simplex virus 1 strains

Sarah N. Dweikat, Daniel W. Renner, Christopher D. Bowen, Moriah L. Szpara, 2022, Journal of General Virology

T. Hans Derr, Melissa A. James, Chad V. Kuny, Devanshi R. Patel, Prem P. Kandel, Cassandra Field, Matthew D. Beckman, Kevin L. Hockett, Mark A. Bates, Troy C. Sutton, Moriah L. Szpara, 2022, mSphere

Molly M. Rathbun, Mackenzie M. Shipley, Christopher D. Bowen, Stacy Selke, Anna Wald, Christine Johnston, Moriah L. Szpara, 2022, PLoS Pathogens

Satish K. Mehta, Moriah L. Szpara, Bridgette V. Rooney, Douglass M. Diak, Mackenzie M. Shipley, Daniel W. Renner, Stephanie S. Krieger, Mayra A. Nelman-Gonzalez, Sara R. Zwart, Scott M. Smith, Brian E. Crucian, 2022, Viruses

M Rathbun, Moriah Szpara, 2021, Advances in virus research on p. 27-57

Daniel Renner, Lance Parsons, Jacob Shreve, Esteban Engel, C Kuny, Lynn Enquist, Donna Neumann, Colleen Mangold, Moriah Szpara, 2021, Microbiology Resource Announcements

Colleen Mangold, Molly Rathbun, Daniel Renner, C Kuny, Moriah Szpara, 2021, PLoS Pathogens on p. e1009441

Mechanisms of DNA Virus Evolution

Moriah Szpara, Koenraad Van Doorslaer, 2021, Encyclopedia of Virology on p. 8

Most-Cited Papers

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

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

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

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

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

Mackenzie M. Shipley, Colleen A. Mangold, Chad V. Kuny, Moriah L. Szpara, 2017, Journal of Virology

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

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

Mackenzie M. Shipley, Daniel W. Renner, Mariliis Ott, David C. Bloom, David M. Koelle, Christine Johnston, Moriah L. Szpara, 2018, Journal of Infectious Diseases on p. 595-605

News Articles Featuring Moriah Szpara

Does herpes simplex virus change during transmission?

A new study helps explain how the virus that causes herpes might change during transmission between partners and over time during a long-term infection within a human host, which could have implications for future treatment strategies. The study, by a team of researchers from Penn State and the University of Washington, is the first to track genetic differences of the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) as it moves between adult sexual transmission partners.

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.