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Stuart N. Isaacs, MD

Stuart N. Isaacs, MD Researcher

Associate Dean for Animal Research, Perelman School of Medicine Associate Professor of Medicine

Dr. Isaacs is employed by Penn Medicine.

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About Dr. Stuart N. Isaacs

Dr. Isaacs sees patients at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center.

Clinical Specialties

Programs & Centers:

Board Certification:

  • Internal Medicine, 1988

Insurance Accepted

  • OPR Medicare
  • OPR New Jersey Medicaid
  • OPR Pennsylvania Medicaid

Education and Training

Medical School: Yale University
Residency: Temple University Hospital
Fellowship: National Institutes of Health
Fellowship: Tufts University


American Association for the Advancement of Science, National American Society for Microbiology, National American Society for Virology, National Infectious Diseases Society of America, National

Hospital Affiliation

Dr. Isaacs is employed by Penn Medicine.

Hospital Privileges:

  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania: On the medical staff, but does not have privileges to treat patients in the hospital.


Description of Research Expertise:

Research Interests
Viral pathogenesis and viral evasion strategies from the host immune response
Recombinant vaccinia viruses as vaccine vectors
Counter-bioterrorism research focusing on smallpox
Molluscum contagiosum

Key words:
Vaccinia virus, Recombinant vaccines, poxvirus , pathogenesis, smallpox vaccines and therapeutics, molluscum contagiosum

Description of Research
Dr. Isaacs' laboratory focuses on using poxviruses as a model system to study viral proteins that are involved in viral pathogenesis, dissemination, and evasion of the host immune response. Poxviruses, which are used widely as a tool for research and vaccine development, express proteins that inhibit complement activation, bind IL-1, TNF, and interferons, and decrease the host inflammatory response by other mechanisms. Elucidation of these processes could lead to a safer virus vector. Furthermore, the study of these defense molecules encoded by the virus might give insights into the control of inflammation, as well as, the development of new anti-inflammatory drugs. The laboratory has also been pursuing the use of vaccinia virus as a vaccine vector and with anti-bioterrorism research. Dr. Isaacs was the poxvirus program project leader for the Middle Atlantic Regional Center of Excellence in Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases and was involved in developing a safer smallpox vaccines as well as therapies to treat smallpox and complications from the current smallpox vaccine.

The Isaacs lab is also working with molluscum contagiosum, a poxvirus that causes a very common skin infection, especially in children. This virus has been difficult to study because it cannot be grown in cell culture. The Isaacs lab is pursuing approaches to grow this virus in cell culture systems.

Lab personnel:
Yuhong Xiao

Past lab personnel:
Asha Abdool
Edward Alexander
Jeanie Chu
Matt Cohen
Brian DeHaven
Xin Fan
Natasha Girgis
Elizabeth Herrara
Heesun Kwak
Shamim Mohammad
Kendra Viner
Jessica Weaver

Selected Publications:

Buchman, G.W., Cohen, M.E., Xiao, Y., Richardson-Harman, N., Silvera, P., DeTolla, L.J., Davis, H.J., Eisenberg, R.J., Cohen, G.H., Isaacs, S.N.: A protein-based smallpox vaccine protects non-human primates from a lethal monkeypox virus challenge Vaccine 28 (40): 6627-36,2010.

DeHaven, B.C., Girgis, N.M., Xiao, Y., Hudson, P.N., Olson, V.A., Damon, I.K., Isaacs, S.N.: Poxvirus complement control proteins are expressed on the cell surface through an intermolecular disulfide bridge with the viral A56 protein Journal of Virology 84 (21): 11245-11254,2010.

Isaacs, S.N.: A stimulating way to improve T cell responses to poxvirus-vectored vaccines Journal of Clinical Investigation 121 (1): 19-21,2011.

Girgis, N.M., DeHaven, B.C., Xiao, Y., Alexander, E., Viner, K.M., Isaacs, S.N.: The vaccinia virus complement control protein modulates adaptive immune responses during infection. Journal of Virology 85 (6): 2547-56,2011.

Cohen ME, Xiao Y, Eisenberg RJ, Cohen GH, Isaacs SN: Antibody against Extracellular Vaccinia Virus (EV) Protects Mice through Complement and Fc Receptors PLoS ONE 6 (6): e20597,2011.

Hudson, P.N., Self, J., Weiss, S., Braden, Z., Xiao, Y., Girgis, N.M., Emerson, G., Hughes, C., Sammons, S.A., Isaacs, S.N., Damon, I.K., Olson, V.A.: Elucidating the role of the complement control protein in monkeypox pathogenicity. PLoS One 7 (4): e35086,2012.

Xiao, Y. and Isaacs, S.N.: Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) and Blocking with Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA) - Not all BSAs are alike Journal of Immunological Methods 384 (1-2): 148-51,2012.

Isaacs, S.N. (Editor): Vaccinia Virus and Poxvirology: Methods and Protocols, 2nd Edition in Methods in Molecular Biology 890 : 2012.

Xiao, Y., Zeng, Y., Alexander, E., Mehta, S., Joshi, S.B., Buchman, G.W., Volkin, D.B., Middaugh, C.R., Isaacs, S.N.: Adsorption of recombinant poxvirus L1-protein to aluminum hydroxide/CpG vaccine adjuvants enhances immune responses and protection of mice from vaccinia virus challenge Vaccine 31 (2): 319-326,2013.

Guan, H., Nuth, M., Zhukovskaya, N., Saw, Y.L., Bell, E., Isaacs, S.N., Ricciardi, R.P.: A novel target and approach for identifying antivirals against molluscum contagiosum virus Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 58 (12): 7383-9,2014.

View all publications

Academic Contact Info

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Division of Infectious Diseases
319 Johnson Pavilion

Philadelphia, PA 19104-6073
Phone: (215) 573-7515