Balaji Manicassamy, Ph.D.


  • Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology
  • Assistant Professor, Committee on Microbiology


Ph.D., University of Illinois - Chicago, 2005

B.T., Anna University, India, 1999


The University of Chicago 
920 East 58th Street 
Chicago, Illinois 60637

Phone:  (773) 702-6355


Balaji Manicassamy, Ph.D., received his B.Tech in Industrial Biotechnology from Anna University, Madras-India and his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. His graduate research in the laboratory of Dr. Lijun Rong focused on understanding the entry mechanisms of Ebola and Marburg viruses. He identified the structural and functional entry determinants in Ebola and Marburg viral glycoproteins, and demonstrated that both viruses share the same receptor(s). During his postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Adolfo Garcia-Sastre at Mount Sinai School of Medicine (New York), he engineered recombinant viruses carrying fluorescent reporter genes using the reverse genetics. This novel tool provided the unprecedented ability to follow the dynamics of influenza virus infection in vivo. He demonstrated that apart from epithelial cells, which are the primary targets of influenza virus infection, immune cells like dendritic cells, macrophages, NK- and B-cells are infected by influenza virus. As a postdoctoral fellow, he received a K99 “Pathway to Independence award” from the NIAID to investigate the role of innate pattern recognition receptors in protection against influenza viruses. He joined the Department of Microbiology at the University of Chicago in August of 2012.


Manicassamy B, Manicassamy S, Belicha-Villanueva A, Pisanelli G, Pulendran B and García-Sastre. Analysis of in vivo dynamics of influenza virus infection in mice using a GFP reporter virus. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2010; 107(25):11531-6. 

Manicassamy B*, Medina-Silva R*, Hai R*, Tsibane T, Stertz S, Nistal-Villán  E,  Palese P, Basler CF and Garcia-Sastre A. Protection of mice against lethal challenge with 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus by 1918-like and classical swineH1N1 based vaccines. PLoS Pathog. 2010 Jan 29;6(1):e1000745. 

Medina RA*, Manicassamy B*, Stertz S*, Seibert CW, Hai R, Belshe RB, Frey SE, Basler CF, Palese P, and García-Sastre A. Pandemic 2009 H1N1 vaccine protects against 1918 Spanish influenza virus. Nature Commun. 2010 Jun 15;1:28. doi: 10.1038/ ncomms1026.