Elizabeth L. Virts
Dr. Elizabeth L. Virts

Elizabeth "Libby" Virts, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor

Program Area


Research Interests

Molecular events regulating age-related changes in early T-cell development, miRNA control of gene expression, mode of action of immunostimulatory antimicrobial peptides.


Miami University Oxford, OH / B.S. 1979 / Botany
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN / Ph.D. 1985 / Molecular Biology
University of California, San Diego, CA / Postdoc 1988 / Biology

Positions and Employment

1979 - 1985 Graduate student, Purdue University, Department of Biology, West Lafayette, IN.

1985 - 1988 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, San Diego, Department of Biology, San Diego, CA.

1988 - 1992 Research Scientist, The Salk Institute Biotechnology/Industrial Associates, Inc. (SIBIA), La Jolla, CA.

1992 - 1994 Research Associate, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA.

1994 - 2009 Senior Research Scientist, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, San Diego, CA.

2009 – Present Research Assistant Professor, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA.

Memberships, Honors, and Awards

6/85 – 6/88 NIH Postdoctoral fellowship, Grant #GM105-78-03. University of California, San Diego.

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

  1. Virts, E.L. and Gelvin, S.B. (1995). Ti-plasmid transfer from Agrobacterium tumefaciens to Petunia cells. In A.A. Szalay and R.B. Legocki (eds.), Advances in the molecular genetics of the bacteria-plant interaction. Media Services, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

  2. Virts, E.L. and Gelvin, S.B. (1985). Analysis of transfer of tumor-inducing plasmids from Agrobacterium tumefaciens to Petunia protoplasts. J. Bacteriol., 162:1030-1038.

  3. Ditta, G., Virts, E. L., Palomeres, A., and Kim, C.-H. (1987). The nifA gene of Rhizobium meliloti is oxygen regulated. J. Bacteriol., 169:3217-3223.

  4. Virts, E.L., Stanfield, S.W., Helsinki, D.R., and Ditta, G.S. (1988). Common regulatory elements control symbiotic and microaerobic induction of nifA in Rhizobium meliloti. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 85:3062 3065.

  5. Virts, E.L., Barritt, D., Siden, E. and Raschke, W.C. (1997). Murine mast cells and monocytes express distinctive sets of CD45 isoforms. Molec. Immunol., 34:1191-1197.

  6. Virts, E.L., Barritt, D., and Raschke, W.C. (1998). Expression of CD45 isoforms lacking exons 7, 8 and 10. Molec. Immunol., 35:167-176.

  7. Virts, E.L. and Raschke, W.C. (2001) The role of intron sequences in high level expression CD45 cDNA constructs, J. Biol. Chem., 276:19913-19920.

  8. Virts, E.L., Diago, O. and Raschke, W.C. (2003). A CD45 minigene restores regulated isoform expression and immune function in CD45-deficient mice: therapeutic implications for human CD45-null severe combined immunodeficiency. Blood 101:849-855.

  9. Phillips, J.A., Bronstetter, T.I., English, C.A., Virts, E.L. & Thoman M.L. (2004). IL-7 gene therapy in aging rescues thymic lineage commitment without reversing involution. J Immunol., 173:4867-4874.

  10. Virts, E.L., Phillips, J.A., Thoman, M.L. (2006) A novel approach to the thymic rejuvenation in the aged. Rejuvenation Res., 9(1):134-42.

  11. Morgan, E.L., Morgan, B.N., Stein, E,A., Virts, E.L., Thoman, M.L., and Phillips, J.A. (2009) EP67: a C5a Receptor Agonist Decapeptide That Acts As A Potent Adjuvant. Submitted