William Paul Duprex

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Paul Duprex
William Paul Duprex

1968 (age 55–56)
Other namesPaul Duprex
Academic background
Alma materThe Queens University of Belfast (PhD)
The Queens University of Belfast (BSc)
Doctoral advisorBert Rima
Academic work
DisciplineVaccines, emerging diseases, infections
InstitutionsUniversity of Pittsburgh

William Paul Duprex (pronounced /djˈpr/ dew-PRAY; born 1968) is a British scientist and advocate for vaccines and global health. He serves as Director of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Vaccine Research and Regional Biocontainment Laboratory. Duprex holds the Jonas Salk Chair in Vaccine Research. He is also a professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of General Virology, which is published by the Microbiology Society, and a senior editor of mSphere, published by the American Society for Microbiology. Duprex is an expert in measles and mumps viruses and studies viral spillover from animals to humans, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic. Duprex is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

Early life and education[edit]

Duprex, who goes by his middle name, Paul, was born to a Protestant family in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, during the violent political conflict known as The Troubles. He attended King's Park Primary School, Lurgan College, and Queen's University Belfast (QUB), where he earned a BS in biochemistry and genetics in 1990 and a PhD in molecular virology in 1995.[1]

As a boy at King's Park Primary, he first discovered a love of science while observing tadpoles transform into frogs. Later, at Lurgan College, he discovered microbiology, experimenting with his classmates' saliva to determine which toothpaste was the best at killing the bacteria that colonize the mouth.[1]


Early career[edit]

Duprex stayed on at QUB as a postdoctoral research fellow from 1995 to 1999, studying how measles virus infects the brain,[2][3][4] and served as a lecturer in molecular virology and biochemistry from 1999 to 2010, during which time he studied measles,[5] mumps,[6] canine distemper,[7] and foot-and-mouth disease virus[8] in biocontainment at the Pirbright Institute.[9]

Emerging infectious diseases, zoonosis, and vaccine development[edit]

From 2006 to 2007, Duprex worked at Johnson & Johnson as a Principal Scientist and Head of the Department of Emerging Sciences and Technologies, working to create heat-stable vaccines that are more suitable for distributing throughout the developing world.[10] Duprex moved to Boston University in 2010 to take the positions of associate professor of Microbiology and Director of Cell and Tissue Imaging in the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories, where he trained to use "space-suit-virology"[1] in a BSL-4 lab to understand pathogenesis in paramyxoviruses such as measles, mumps, and respiratory syncytial virus in humans, as well as Hendra virus in horses and Newcastle disease virus in chickens.[11] During this time, he won funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges in Global Health to continue his work with heat-stable measles vaccines.[12] In 2018, Duprex became director of the Center for Vaccine Research at the University of Pittsburgh,[9] where he continues to study the evolution of human and animal respiratory viruses such as measles, mumps and SARS-CoV-2, with the practical goals of developing new vaccines for emerging diseases as well as tools that predict viral spillover from animal reservoirs into humans.[9]

COVID-19 response[edit]

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Duprex has used his public profile on Twitter to share information about the virus and promote vaccination, which he had been outspoken about prior to the pandemic.[13] Since COVID-19 emerged, Duprex has appeared as a subject matter expert in television, radio, and print news outlets.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20] Duprex's team began working with live SARS-CoV-2 virus in February 2020,[21] immediately helping to validate a PCR-based COVID-19 test developed by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).[22] In April 2020, Duprex secured one of the first Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) grants funding the creation of a COVID-19 vaccine, together with partners at the Pasteur Institute in Paris and Themis Bioscience in Austria.[23] This particular vaccine was designed to use a recombinant measles vaccine as a vector for introducing SARS-CoV-2 spike protein into the body.[24] Merck acquired Themis in June 2020[25] and abandoned all COVID-19 vaccine research in January 2021.[26] Since then, Duprex's team has been focused on understanding how the SARS-CoV-2 virus mutates to create new viral variants,[27] including Delta and Omicron, which the World Health Organization declared variants of concern.[28] With collaborators at Carnegie Mellon University, he is working on improving vaccine delivery systems that can more safely and effectively reach remote parts of the developing world.[29]

Selected publications[edit]

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Paul leading the fight against killer viruses". www.northernirelandworld.com. 26 August 2014. Archived from the original on 20 December 2021. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  2. ^ Duprex, W. Paul; Duffy, Iain; McQuaid, Stephen; Hamill, Louise; Cosby, S. Louise; Billeter, Martin A.; Schneider-Schaulies, Jürgen; Meulen, Volker ter; Rima, Bert K. (1 August 1999). "The H Gene of Rodent Brain-Adapted Measles Virus Confers Neurovirulence to the Edmonston Vaccine Strain". Journal of Virology. 73 (8): 6916–6922. doi:10.1128/JVI.73.8.6916-6922.1999. PMC 112776. PMID 10400789.
  3. ^ Duprex, W. Paul; Mcquaid, Stephen; Roscic-Mrkic, Branka; Cattaneo, Roberto; Mccallister, Cecilia; Rima, Bert K. (1 September 2000). "In Vitro and In Vivo Infection of Neural Cells by a Recombinant Measles Virus Expressing Enhanced Green Fluorescent Protein". Journal of Virology. 74 (17): 7972–7979. doi:10.1128/JVI.74.17.7972-7979.2000. PMC 112328. PMID 10933705.
  4. ^ Duprex, W. Paul; McQuaid, Stephen; Hangartner, Lars; Billeter, Martin A.; Rima, Bert K. (1 November 1999). "Observation of Measles Virus Cell-to-Cell Spread in Astrocytoma Cells by Using a Green Fluorescent Protein-Expressing Recombinant Virus". Journal of Virology. 73 (11): 9568–9575. doi:10.1128/jvi.73.11.9568-9575.1999. ISSN 9568-9575. PMC 112991. PMID 10516065.
  5. ^ Ludlow, Martin; McQuaid, Stephen; Cosby, S. Louise; Cattaneo, Roberto; Rima, Bert K.; Duprex, W. PaulYR 2005 (2005). "Measles virus superinfection immunity and receptor redistribution in persistently infected NT2 cells". Journal of General Virology. 86 (8): 2291–2303. doi:10.1099/vir.0.81052-0. ISSN 1465-2099. PMID 16033977.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Puri, Mamta; Lemon, Ken; Duprex, W. Paul; Rima, Bertus K.; Horvath, Curt M. (2009). "A Point Mutation, E95D, in the Mumps Virus V Protein Disengages STAT3 Targeting from STAT1 Targeting". Journal of Virology. 83 (13): 6347–6356. doi:10.1128/JVI.00596-09. PMC 2698558. PMID 19386700.
  7. ^ Silin, D.; Lyubomska, O.; Ludlow, M.; Duprex, W. P.; Rima, B. K. (2007). "Development of a Challenge-Protective Vaccine Concept by Modification of the Viral RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase of Canine Distemper Virus". Journal of Virology. 81 (24): 13649–13658. doi:10.1128/JVI.01385-07. PMC 2168841. PMID 17898047.
  8. ^ Armer, Hannah; Moffat, Katy; Wileman, Thomas; Belsham, Graham J.; Jackson, Terry; Duprex, W. Paul; Ryan, Martin; Monaghan, Paul (2008). "Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus, but Not Bovine Enterovirus, Targets the Host Cell Cytoskeleton via the Nonstructural Protein 3Cpro". Journal of Virology. 82 (21): 10556–10566. doi:10.1128/JVI.00907-08. PMC 2573224. PMID 18753210.
  9. ^ a b c "Pitt Announces New Director of Center for Vaccine Research". UPMC Life Changing Medicine. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  10. ^ "Full Professorships for Eight on Medical Campus BU Today". Boston University. 11 March 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  11. ^ "Paul Duprex, Ph.D. » Program in Inflammatory Disorders | Boston University". www.bumc.bu.edu. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  12. ^ Schlehuber, Lisa D.; McFadyen, Iain J.; Shu, Yu; Carignan, James; Duprex, W. Paul; Forsyth, William R.; Ho, Jason H.; Kitsos, Christine M.; Lee, George Y.; Levinson, Douglas A.; Lucier, Sarah C. (12 July 2011). "Towards ambient temperature-stable vaccines: The identification of thermally stabilizing liquid formulations for measles virus using an innovative high-throughput infectivity assay". Vaccine. 29 (31): 5031–5039. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.04.079. ISSN 0264-410X. PMID 21616113.
  13. ^ "Perspective | Measles: Why it's so deadly, and why vaccination is so vital". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  14. ^ "The coronavirus variants experts are most concerned about". www.cbsnews.com. 14 March 2021. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  15. ^ "How do vaccines get approved for mass distribution? Doctors explain". TODAY.com. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  16. ^ Mandavilli, Apoorva (1 April 2021). "Can Vaccinated People Spread the Virus? We Don't Know, Scientists Say". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  17. ^ Gorman, James; Zimmer, Carl (27 November 2020). "The Virus Won't Stop Evolving When the Vaccine Arrives". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  18. ^ "Scientists underestimated the coronavirus — and are racing to keep up with evolution". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  19. ^ "COVID-19 will likely be with us forever. Here's how we'll live with it". Science. 22 January 2021. Archived from the original on 17 February 2021. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  20. ^ "How COVID-19's Vaccine Development Will Benefit Future Vaccines". Science Friday. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  21. ^ "Researchers At Pitt Working To Safely And Quickly Develop COVID-19 Vaccine". 27 February 2020. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  22. ^ "UPMC Developing Test for COVID-19". UPMC & Pitt Health Sciences News Blog. 9 March 2020. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  23. ^ "CEPI collaborates with the Institut Pasteur in a consortium to develop COVID-19 vaccine". CEPI. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  24. ^ US 11103576, Duprex, William Paul, "Measles virus vaccine expressing SARS-COV-2 protein(s)", issued 2021-08-31, assigned to University of Pittsburgh 
  25. ^ "Merck Completes Acquisition of Themis". Merck.com. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  26. ^ "Merck Discontinues Development of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates; Continues Development of Two Investigational Therapeutic Candidates". Merck.com. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  27. ^ McCarthy, Kevin R.; Rennick, Linda J.; Nambulli, Sham; Robinson-McCarthy, Lindsey R.; Bain, William G.; Haidar, Ghady; Duprex, W. Paul (12 March 2021). "Recurrent deletions in the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein drive antibody escape". Science. 371 (6534): 1139–1142. Bibcode:2021Sci...371.1139M. doi:10.1126/science.abf6950. ISSN 1095-9203. PMC 7971772. PMID 33536258.
  28. ^ "Tracking SARS-CoV-2 variants". www.who.int. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  29. ^ University, Carnegie Mellon (17 February 2021). "Improving a Vaccine Delivery System for COVID and Beyond - News - Carnegie Mellon University". www.cmu.edu. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  30. ^ "The Gardner Lectureship – European Society for Clinical Virology" (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  31. ^ "American Academy of Microbiology". ASM.org. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  32. ^ "ECOGIG - News Item". ecogig.org. Retrieved 21 December 2021.
  33. ^ "2019 Carnegie Science Award Winners". Carnegie Science Center. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  34. ^ 2021 Carnegie Science Awards: Chairman's Award, retrieved 20 December 2021

External links[edit]