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

Viruses Human Herpesvirus 1 Genes Genome Simplexvirus Neurons Herpesviridae Interferons Genomics Cells Human Alphaherpesvirus 1 Virulence Infections Viral Genome Infection Population Virus Diseases Dna Galaxies Resistance Transcriptome Interferon North America Proteins Herpes Simplex

Most Recent Papers

Dermatitis during Spaceflight Associated with HSV-1 Reactivation

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

A holistic perspective on herpes simplex virus (HSV) ecology and evolution.

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

Genome Sequence of the Virulent Model Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Strain McKrae Demonstrates the Presence of at Least Two Widely Used Variant Strains

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

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

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

Alphaherpesvirus genomics

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

ICTV virus taxonomy profile

Derek Gatherer, Daniel P. Depledge, Carol A. Hartley, Moriah L. Szpara, Paola K. Vaz, Mária Benkő, Curtis R. Brandt, Neil A. Bryant, Akbar Dastjerdi, Andor Doszpoly, Ursula A. Gompels, Naoki Inoue, Keith W. Jarosinski, Rajeev Kaul, Vincent Lacoste, Peter Norberg, Francesco C. Origgi, Richard J. Orton, Philip E. Pellett, D. Scott Schmid, Stephen J. Spatz, James P. Stewart, Jakob Trimpert, Thomas B. Waltzek, Andrew J. Davison, Stuart G. Siddell, Elliot J. Lefkowitz, Sead Sabanadzovic, Peter Simmonds, F. Murilo Zerbini, Donald B. Smith, Arvind Varsani, 2021, Journal of General Virology

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

173. HSV-2 Isolates from Neonates with Different Clinical Outcomes Exhibit Different in Vitro and in Vivo phenotypes

Moriah Szpara, 2020, Open forum infectious diseases

Alphaherpesvirus Genomics: Past, Present and Future.

C Kuny, Moriah Szpara, 2020, Current issues in molecular biology on p. 41-80

Most-Cited Papers

Differentiation of the SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cell line

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

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

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

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

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

Rapid genome assembly and comparison decode intrastrain variation in human alphaherpesviruses

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

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 L. Szpara, Stephen J. Spatz, Nikolaus Osterrieder, Dino P. McMahon, 2017, Evolutionary Applications on p. 1091-1101

VirAmp: A galaxy-based viral genome assembly pipeline

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

Differentiated human SHSY5Y cells provide a reductionist model of herpes simplex virus 1 neurotropism

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

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

Genotypic and Phenotypic Diversity of Herpes Simplex Virus 2 within the Infected Neonatal Population

Lisa N. Akhtar, Christopher D. Bowen, Daniel W. Renner, Utsav Pandey, Ashley N. Della Fera, David W. Kimberlin, Mark N. Prichard, Richard J. Whitley, Matthew D. Weitzman, Moriah L. Szpara, 2019, mSphere on p. e00590--18

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.