Steven Varga, PhD

Microbiology and Immunology

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in young children worldwide. An experimental formalin-inactivated (FI) RSV vaccine developed in the United States during the 1960's led to exacerbated disease in vaccinated infants upon a subsequent natural infection. It is believed that the immune system was largely responsible for the enhanced disease exhibited by the children that received the FI-RSV vaccine. My laboratory is interested in understanding the underlying immunological causes that resulted in the the development of RSV vaccine-enhanced disease. We have recently made significant progress in defining the central role of CD4 T cells in mediating the FI-RSV vaccine-enhanced immunopathology.

We are currently studying the the role of tissue-resident memory T cells in providing protection against RSV infection. Humans experience repeated RSV infections throughout life due to the development of insufficient long-lived immunity. We are trying to gain a better understanding of why immunity to RSV is incomplete. The overall goal of our studies is to gain a better understanding of the immune determinants that lead to protection versus immunopathology so that safer and more effective vaccines can be developed in the future.

Research areas
  • Cancer immunology
  • Innate immunity
  • Adaptive immunity
  • Cell differentiation
  • Pathogen recognition
  • Immune cell activation and interactions
  • Host-pathogen interactions
  • Pathogenesis
  • T cell Biology
  • DC Biology
  • Macrophages
  • Viruses
  • Vaccines, Drugs, and Biologics
  • Cytokines/Chemokines
  • Immune memory
  • Neonatal immunity
  • Human immunology
Steven Varga

3-500 BSB
United States

Phone Number


3-532 BSB
United States

Phone Number