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Dr. Steven M. Varga is a Professor of the department of microbiology and director of the interdisciplinary  graduate program in Immunology at the University of Iowa, He started his career in sciences at the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated in 1993 as a Bachelor in Biology, later he followed his career with a Ph.D. program of Immunology and Virology at the University of Massachusetts, graduating in 1999, he followed with a Postdoctoral Fellow, at the Carter Immunology center from the University of Virginia under the supervision of J. Braciale, where he was granted the National Research Service Award from NIH in 2000-2002. Dr. Varga’s laboratory studies the contribution of virus-specific T lymphocytes to enhanced disease and immunopathology during virus infection.  A major focus of the laboratory is gaining a better understanding of the immune response to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in young children worldwide. Attempts to create an RSV vaccine have been unsuccessful to date.  Administration of a formalin-inactivated vaccine to children results in exacerbated morbidity and mortality upon natural RSV infection.  It is believed that the immune system is responsible for the enhanced disease that was exhibited in the vaccinated children.  The laboratory is currently studying the mechanisms by which virus-specific CD4 T cells mediate damage within the infected lung.  By better understanding how T cells cause damage to the host during infections we hope to be able to devise novel vaccination strategies that will limit the destruction of host tissue during an immune response against a virus or parasite. Dr. Varga has published more than 62 articles in distinguished journals, including, Journal of Immunology, Journal of Virology, Immunity, Cell Immunity, American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, Future Virology, Virology, PLoS pathogens, Pediatric Research.