Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Biology
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
- Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics
- Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Biosciences
- Bioinformatics and Genomics
- Neuroscience Institute
- Microbiome Center
Publication TagsHuman 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
Aerosolized Hydrogen Peroxide Decontamination of N95 Respirators, with Fit-Testing and Viral Inactivation, Demonstrates Feasibility for Reuse during the COVID-19 Pandemic
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
Comparison of herpes simplex virus 1 genomic diversity between adult sexual transmission partners with genital infection
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
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
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
Daniel W. Renner, Moriah L. Szpara, 2018, Journal of Virology
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
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
Yinan Wan, Daniel W. Renner, Istvan Albert, Moriah L. Szpara, 2015, GigaScience
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
Genome-Wide Surveillance of Genital Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 From Multiple Anatomic Sites Over Time
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
May 24, 2022
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.
Mar 29, 2021
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.
Mar 29, 2021
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.
May 26, 2020
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.
Apr 22, 2020
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.