Associate Directors

Mark Heise

Mark Heise

Professor, Genetics, UNC Chapel Hill

READDI co-founder and scientific adviser Mark Heise is a professor in the UNC School of Medicine’s genetics department. His research program is focused on understanding how viral and host genetic factors interact to influence virus-induced disease.

Mark is currently studying alphaviruses — mosquito-borne RNA viruses that cause encephalitis and infectious arthritis in humans — as well the respiratory viruses influenza A and SARS-CoV-2. He uses a combination of molecular virology, viral immunology and systems genetics approaches in his research. Among other things, he seeks to define the mechanisms by which certain determinants promote virus-induced disease and to understand how host genetic variation affects the ways individuals respond to infection or vaccination.

Mark’s lab is also part of a large interdisciplinary antiviral drug development program at UNC. In addition to gaining new insights into the way viruses induce disease, the program’s goal is to leverage this research to develop new therapies for the prevention or treatment of human disease. These include broad-spectrum antivirals aimed at SARS-CoV-2 and also emerging alphaviruses, for which there are no approved therapeutic antivirals.

Mark earned a Doctor of Philosophy in immunology from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Arts in biology from St. Olaf College.

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