Nikos Vasilakis, Ph.D.

Nikos Vasilakis, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology;
Member, Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases

University of Texas Medical Branch
301 University Blvd,
Galveston, TX 77555-0610

Office: (409) 266-6919
Fax: (409) 772-0460

« Back

Nikos Vasilakis, Ph.D.

Professional Education

Degree Institution Field of Study Graduation Year
B.A. Hofstra University Biology 1988
M.A. Hofstra University Biology 1992
Ph.D. University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX Experimental Pathology 2007
Postdoctoral University of Pittsburgh Vaccine Development 2009


2001 Wyeth - Ayerst Research ‘Above and Beyond’ Award
2006 Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges
2007 Robert L. Harrison Award for Molecular/Cell Biology Research
2007 American Society of Virology Travel Award to attend 26th ASV - Corvallis, OR
2007 Dennis Bowman Memorial Scholarship Award
2008 American Society of Virology Travel Award to attend XVIth ICV - Istambul
2008 The Fine Foundation Scholar
2008 American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Young Investigator Award

Professional Affiliations

1988-2007 American Association for the Advancement of Science
1989-1992 Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society, Alpha Lambda Chapter
1999-Present American Society for Virology, Full member
2003-Present American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
2003-Present American Committee on Arthropod-borne Viruses (ACAV)
2003-Present American Committee on Medical Entomology (ACME)

Research Interests

  • Basic research on evolution and pathogenesis of arthropod-borne viruses, virus - mosquito, virus - host interactions and vaccine development
  • Role of viral quasispecies in transmission dynamics and emergence
  • Use of proteomics to understand the host response and progression to severe disease during dengue virus infection
  • Development of humanized murine animal models for arboviroses

Selected Publications

  1. Vasilakis, N.; Cardosa, J.; Diallo, M.; Sall, A.A.; Holmes, E.C.; Hanley, K.A.; Weaver, S.C. Sylvatic Dengue Viruses Share the Pathogenic Potential of Urban Dengue Viruses. J. Virol. 84:3726-3727; 2010 [PMID: 20212326]
  2. Vasilakis, N.; Deardorff, E.R.; Kenney, J.; Rossi, S.L.; Hanley, K.A.; Weaver, S.C. Mosquitoes Put the Brake on Evolution: Experimental Evolution Reveals Slower Mutation Accumulation in Mosquito Cells than Vertebrate Cells. PLoS Pathogens, 5(6):e1000467; 2009 [PMID: 19503824] [PMCID: PMC2685980]
  3. Tang, X.; Li, G.; Vasilakis, N.; Zhang, Y.; Shi, Z.; Zhong, Y.; Wang, L-F.; Zhang, S. Differential Stepwise Evolution of SARS Coronavirus Functional Proteins in Different Host Species. BMC Evol. Biol. 9:52; 2009 [PMID: 19261195][PMCID: PMC2676248]
  4. Vasilakis, N.; Durbin, A.; Travassos da Rosa, A.A.P.; Munoz-Jordan, J.; Tesh, R.B.; Weaver, S.C. Antigenic Relationships between Sylvatic and Endemic Dengue Viruses. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 79:128-132; 2008 [PMID: 18606776]
  5. Vasilakis, N.; Fokam, E.B.; Hanson, C.T.; Weinberg, E.; Sall, A.A.; Whitehead, S.S.; Hanley, K.A.; Weaver, S.C. Genetic and Phenotypic Characterization of Sylvatic Dengue Virus Type 2 Strains. Virology 377:296-307; 2008 [PMID: 18570968]
  6. Coffey, L.L.; Vasilakis, N.; Brault, A.C.; Powers, A.; Tripet, F.; Weaver, S.C. Arbovirus Evolution in vivo is Constrained by Host Alternation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105:6970 - 6975; 2008 [PMID: 18458341][PMCID: PMC2383930]
  7. Vasilakis, N.; Tesh, R.B.; Weaver, S.C. Sylvatic Dengue Virus Type 2 Activity in Humans, Nigeria, 1966. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 14:502 - 504; 2008 [PMID: 18325274][PMCID: PMC2570833]
  8. Vasilakis, N.; Holmes, E.C.; Fokam, E.B.; Faye, O.; Diallo, M.; Sall, A.A.; Weaver, S.C. Evolutionary Processes among Sylvatic Dengue-2 Viruses. J. Virol. 81:9591 - 9595; 2007 [PMID: 17553878][PMCID: 1951459]
  9. Vasilakis, N.; Shell, E.J.; Fokam, E.F.; Mason, P.W.; Hanley, K.A.; Estes, D.M.; Weaver, S.C.  Potential of Ancestral Dengue-2 Viruses to Re-emerge. Virology 358:402 - 412; 2007 [PMID: 17014880]
  10. Vasilakis, N.; Falvey, D.; Gangolli, S.; Coleman, J.; Kowalski, J.; Zamb, T.; Udem, S.A.; Kovacs, G.R. Transfection - independent Production of Alphavirus Replicon Particles Based on Poxvirus Expression Vectors. Nature Biotechnology 21:932 - 935; 2003 [PMID: 12845329]
  11. Kovacs, G.R.; Parks, C.L.; Vasilakis, N.; Udem, S.A. Enhancement of Genetic Rescues of a Mononegavirus Using a Novel Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara-T7 Polymerase Vector and DNA Replication Inhibitors.  J. Virol. Methods 111:29 - 36; 2003 [PMID: 12821194]
  12. Gangolli, S.G.; Vasilakis, N.; Kovacs, G.R.; Zamb, T.J.; Kowalski, J. A Method of Alphavirus Replicon Particle Titration Based on Expression of Functional Replicase/Transcriptase. J. Virol. Methods 109:133 - 138; 2003 [PMID: 12711055]
  13. Parks, C. L.; Wang, H.-P.; Kovacs, G. R.; Vasilakis, N.; Kowalski, J.; Nowak, R. M.; Lerch, R.A.; Walpita, P.; Sidhu, M.S.; Udem, S.A. Expression of a Foreign Gene by Recombinant Canine Distemper Virus Recovered from Cloned DNAs. Virus Research 83:131 - 147; 2002 [PMID: 11864746]
  14. Kovacs, G.R.; Vasilakis, N.; Moss, B. Regulation of Viral Intermediate Gene Expression by the Vaccinia Virus B1 Protein Kinase. J. Virol. 75: 4048 - 4055; 2001 [PMID: 11287554] [PMCID: 114150]

Book Chapters:

  1. Vasilakis, N. and Weaver, S.C. (2008). The History and Evolution of Human Dengue Emergence. In: Maramorosch, K., Murphy, F.A. and Shatkin, A.J., Eds. Advances in Virus Research, vol. 72, pp. 1-76; Academic Press, Burlington, USA. ISBN: 978-0-12-374322-0 [PMID: 19081488]
  2. Vasilakis, N.; Hanley, K.A.; Weaver, S.C. (2010). Dengue Virus Emergence from its Sylvatic Cycle. In: "Frontiers in Dengue Virus Research” (Hanley, K.A. and Weaver, S.C., Eds). Caister Academic Press, Norwich, UK. ISBN: 978-1-904455-50-9

NIH Biosketch

Nature Reviews Microbiology: Fever from the forest: prospects for the continued emergence of sylvatic dengue virus and its impact on public health