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William Jackson

Associate Professor

William Jackson is an internationally recognized expert on both RNA viruses, with a particular focus on respiratory viruses, as well as the cellular process of autophagy. His lab studies how viral respiratory pathogens, including enteroviruses and coronaviruses, subvert the cellular autophagy pathway to promote their own replication and dissemination. He began work on autophagy as it relates to picornavirus replication during his postdoctoral fellowship and has published many original papers, review articles, and edited a book on the subject. He has presented at multiple international meetings; notably co-chaired and spoke at symposia on autophagy and infection at the FEMS Congress in Geneva, Switzerland June 2011. He also co-chaired a symposium and spoke at the ASM Annual Meeting in San Francisco, June 2012. He participated in organizing a new independent meeting on Unconventional protein and membrane trafficking, held October 4-7, 2016 in Lecce (Italy). He has been invited to speak at the Keystone Positive-Strand RNA Viruses meeting in June 2022, and gave a talk at the 2019 Gordon Research Conference on Viruses and Cells. He spoke at the 2014 EMBO RNA Virus meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, the 2009 American Society for Virology Meeting in Vancouver, Canada; and the 2008 Meeting of the European Study Group on the Molecular Biology of Picornaviruses in Sitges, Spain.

Dr. Jackson’s involvement in academic publishing is extensive. Since 2008 he has been a co-author on all three editions of a paper in which recognized autophagy experts defined the acceptable assays for monitoring autophagy. He co-edited a book, Autophagy, Infection, and the Immune Response, for Wiley-Blackwell, which was released January 2014. He co-edited another book released in January 2018: Enteroviruses: Omics, Molecular Biology and Control, for Horizon Scientific Press. In 2013 he was named an Associate Editor for the journal Autophagy and joined the Editorial Board for the journal Virology. In 2019 he became the Virology Section Editor for Autophagy. He has served as an invited reviewer for many journals, including Science, PLoS Pathogens, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Autophagy, mBio, Journal of Virology, Virology, Viruses, Gastroenterology, Virus Research, Journal of General Virology, and Future Virology. Since 2012 Dr. Jackson has served ad hoc on ten NIH study sections. Locally he has served on many institutional committees, including the Faculty Council at UMSOM, and chaired a
search committee which resulted in the hiring of a virology colleague, Dr. Lynda Coughlan, in 2020. Dr. Jackson was recognized for his teaching at the Medical College of Wisconsin with the Outstanding Medical Student Teacher Award in 2012-2013.

The Jackson Lab has demonstrated effects on autophagy, as well as other membrane-induction pathways, by poliovirus and rhinoviruses. They have also published on the role of amphisome vesicles in promoting picornavirus particle maturation, the COPII and autophagic origins of viral RNA replication organelles. More recently his lab has worked on the role of ULK1/Beclin signaling on infection, and on the roles of SNAP/SNARE proteins in virus maturation and release. Among his current interests are using organ-on-a-chip and 3D-bioprinting technology to model diseases such as COVID-19 and Acute Flaccid Myelitis. All three of Dr. Jackson’s graduated PhD trainees remain in biomedical science, two as academic post-docs at Yale University and the Whitehead Institute, and one as a medical writer. His virus laboratory at the University of Maryland Medical Center is surrounded by expertise in cell biology and imaging, RNA viruses, genomic analysis, and clinical research, placing the group in a strong position to study and elucidate the relationship between the innate immune pathway of autophagy and RNA viruses.
The mission of his lab is to understand the relationship between autophagy, cellular trafficking pathways, and viral infection.


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