Contact IMV

IMV Executive Assistant


tel. (612) 624-1926

fax. (612) 625-1108


18-242 Moos Tower
515 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

General Questions:

Peter Southern,
Associate Professor

Microbiology, Medical School

Phone: 612-625-2141



Ph.D., University of Edinburgh, 1978

Research Interests

Human Retrovirus Transmission and Pathogenesis. I am interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying virus transmission and the initiation of virus-induced diseases. After working for many years with experimental infections of mice with an RNA virus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), my research focus has shifted recently to the study of infections with the human retroviruses, human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and human T-cell leukemia virus types I and II (HTLV-I and HTLV-II). These retroviruses can be transmitted either vertically or horizontally in human populations and we are beginning to define essential parameters, in both the donor and recipient of infectivity, that impact on the overall probability of transmission. Our experiments are based on primary human cell populations, human organ cultures, and body fluids from seropositive patients. Our goal is to develop manipulable experimental systems that duplicate the natural routes for virus transmission. More specifically, we are investigating the nature of HIV-1 infections in male reproductive tissue to understand variability in the shedding of HIV-1 infectivity in seminal fluid. In recipients, we are interested in defining the mechanisms whereby HIV-1 infectivity can breach epithelial barriers at mucosal surfaces and gain access to intraepithelial leukocytes for the initiation and expansion of primary infections. New insight into HIV transmission, with both cell-free and cell-associated HIV infectivity, will be invaluable in refining vaccine studies and may contribute significantly to the design of novel therapeutic agents to reduce the probability of HIV transmission.

Selected Recent Publications

  • Maher, D., X. Wu, T. Schacker, J. Horbul, and P. Southern. 2005. HIV binding, penetration, and primary infection in human cervicovaginal tissue. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 102: 11504-11509.
  • Maher, D., Z-Z. Zhang, T. Schacker, and P. Southern. 2005. Ex vivo modeling of oral HIV transmission in human palatine tonsil. J. Histochem. & Cytochem. 53: 631-642.
  • Maher, D., X. Wu, T. Schacker, M. Larson, and P. Southern. 2004. A model system of oral HIV exposure utilizing human palatine tonsil reveals extensive binding of HIV infectivity with limited progression to primary infection. J. Infect. Dis. 190: 1989-1997.
  • Meyer, B.J., J-C. de la Torre, and P.J. Southern, (2001) Arenaviruses: genomic RNAs, transcription and replication. Curr. Top. Microbiol. Immunol.
  • Chang, S-l, G.W. Griesgraber, P.J. Southern, and C.R. Wagner (2001) Amino acid phosphoramidate monoesters of 3'-azido-3'deoxythymidine: relationship between antiviral potency and intracellular metabolism. J. Med. Chem. 44:223-231.
  • Louiero, P., S.O. Southern, P.J. Southern, and M.S. Pombo-de-Oliveira. (2000) Clinicopathological studies of a patient with adult T-cell leukemia and pseudogynecomasty. Am. J. Hematol. 65:256-259.
  • LeVasseur, R.J., S.O. Southern, and P.J. Southern. (1998) Mammary epithelial cells support and transfer productive human t-cell lymphotropic virus infections. J. Human Virol. 1:214-233.
  • Southern, S.O., and P.J. Southern. (1998) Persistent HTLV-I infection of breast luminal epithelial cells: a role in HTLV transmission. Virology 241:200-214.

Featured News & Events

'Wisc-e-sota', a Joint UMN-UW Virology Training Grant Symposium was first held on Friday, Sepbember 20th, 2013 at the Uniiversity of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Cartwright Center. This was the inaugural collaborative symposium of the NIH T32-supported virology training programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Talks and poster sessions were presented by students, postdocs and faculty. The second UMN-UW Virology Training Grant Symposium will be held in the Fall 2014. Details to follow.

The 2014 IMV Symposium will be held on May 12, 2014 and Mark Denison (Vanderbilt) and Bert Semler (UC-Irvine) will be the Keynote Speakers. Click on the link below to register and submit abstracts.

About the IMV icon

Read about bacteriophage phi 29 and why it matters.

IMV Timeline

Explore nearly a century's worth of discovery in the field of virology at the University of Minnesota.


"This Week in Virology" from professor Vincent Racaniello.