David D. Dunigan, Ph. D.

Research Associate Professor
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Plant Pathology
203 Morrison Center
Lincoln, NE 68583-0900
Phone - 402.472.5776
Fax - 402.472.3323

Professional Organization

American Society for Virology

Sigma Xi

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Nebraska Center for Virology


World of Viruses, NIH, SEPA-sponsored project for developing K-12 educational materials on viruses, 2008 - 2011

ISCO-TELEDYNE, Incorporated, Lincoln, NE, 2002 - 2006

Hampshire Chemical Corporation, Lexington, MA, 1996 - 1998

Life Technologies, Incorporated, Gaithersburg, MD, 1994 - 1995

Courses Taught

Undergraduate - Virology, Biology of AIDS, Cell Biology, Cell Biology Laboratory, Seminar in Microbiology

Graduate - Readings in Virology, Advanced Virology, Virus Replication Mechanisms, Transcriptional Control

Professional Positions

2008 – present
Research Associate Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

2000 – 2008
Research Assistant Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

1996 - 2000
Visiting Assistant, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida

1989 – 1996
Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of South Florida

1985 – 1989
Postdoctoral Associate/Research Associate, Postdoctoral Fellow of the Cornell Biotechnology Program, Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University

1978 – 1985
Research Assistant I/II, Section of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Connecticut

Recent Invited Lectures

“PBCV-1 infection of Chlorella variabilis: A transcriptomic analysis of the immediate-early innate immune response”,  2013 Symposium on Food and Fuel for the 21st Century – Expanding the Opportunities, San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology, La Jolla, California, USA, April 2013

“The immediate-early events of Chlorovirus infections”, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA, May 2013

“An evaluation of Chloroviruses as associated agents of psychiatric disorders”, Nebraska Center for Virology External Advisory Committee Annual Review, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, August 2013

“A view of giant viruses from the midrealm of the chloroviruses”, Oklahoma State University, USA, October 2013

“Rise of the giant viruses: A view from the midrealm”, University of California-Davis, Davis, California, USA, October 2013

Selected Recent Publications

Van Etten, J. L., Lane, L. C., Dunigan, D. D. (2010) DNA viruses – The really big ones (giruses). Annual Reviews in Microbiology 64: 83-99

Blanc G., Duncan G., Agarkova I., Borodovsky M., Gurnon J., Kuo A., Lindquist E., Lucas S., Pangilinan J.,  Polle J., Salamov A., Terry A., Yamada T., Dunigan D.D., Grigoriev I. V., Claverie J-M., and Van Etten J. L. (2010) Chlorella sp. NC64A genome reveals adaptation to photosymbiosis, coevolution with viruses and cryptic sex. Plant Cell 22: 2943-2955

Zhang, X., Xiang, Y., Dunigan, D. D., Klose, T., Van Etten J. L., Rossmann, M. G. (2011). The structure and function of the Paramecium bursaria chlorella virus capsid. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 108: 14837-14842 (http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/plantpathpapers/223/)

Van Etten, J.L. and Dunigan, D.D. (2012). Chloroviruses: not your everyday plant virus. Trends in Plant Science 17: 1-8

Wulfmeyer, T., Polzer, C., Hiepler, G., Hamacher, K., Shoeman, R., Dunigan, D., Van Etten, JL, Lolicato, M., Moroni, A., Thiel, G., Meckel, T. (2012). Structural organization of DNA in Chlorella viruses. PLoS One 7(2):e30133. Epub 2012 Feb 16

Blanc G, Agarkova I, Brueggeman A, Dunigan DD, Gurnon J, Kuo A, Ladunga I, Lindquist E, Lucas S, Pangilinan J, Pröschold T, Salamov A, Weeks D, Grigoriev IV, Yamada T, Claverie J-M, Van Etten JL. (2012). The genome of the polar green microalga Coccomyxa subellipsoidea C-169 reveals eukaryotic strategies of Cold Adaptation. Genome Biology, 13:R39 doi:10.1186/gb-2012-13-5-r39 (http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/plantpathpapers/252/

Dunigan DD, Cerny RL, Bauman AT, Roach JC, Lane LC,  Agarkova IV, Wulser K, Yanai-Balser GM, Gurnon JR, Vitek JC, Kronschnabel BJ, Jeanniard A, Blanc G, Upton C, Duncan GA, McClung OW, Ma F, Van Etten JL (2012). Paramecium bursaria Chlorella Virus 1 Proteome Reveals Novel Architectural and Regulatory Features of a Giant Virus. Journal of Virology 86: 8821-8834 (See the issue Spotlight, and the journal cover of the vol. 86, no. 17 issue) (http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/virologypub/226/)

Jeanniard J, Dunigan DD, Gurnon JR, Agarkova IV, Kang M, Vitek J, Duncan GA, McClung OW, Larsen M, Claverie J-M, Van Etten JL, Blanc G. (2013) Towards defining the chloroviruses: a genomic journey through a genus of large DNA viruses. BMC Genomics 14: 158-171 (http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2164/14/158)

Rowe JM, Dunigan DD, Blanc G, Gurnon JR, Xia Y, Van Etten JL. (2013) Evaluation of Higher Plant Virus Resistance Genes in the Green Alga, Chlorella variabilis NC64A, During the Early Phase of Infection with Paramecium bursaria Chlorella Virus-1. Virology 442: 101-113

[Chosen for the Virology Highlights]

Recent Selected Abstracts:

Aquatic Virus Workshop 6, held in Texel, The Netherlands, October 2011. Title (Oral presentation):  The evolving view of chlorovirus structure. Authors: Dunigan, D.D., Duncan, G.A., Lane, L.C., Zhang, X., Rossmann, M., Van Etten, J.L.

Annual Meeting of the Stanley Medical Research Institute, held in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, December 2012.
Title (Oral presentation): PepScanning “the really big viruses”: Immuno-reactivity of patients with mental disorders to NCLDV proteins.
Authors: David D. Dunigan, James L. Van Etten.

2013 Symposium on Food and Fuel for the 21st Century, held in La Jolla, California, USA; April 2013.
Title (Oral presentation):  PBCV-1 infection of Chlorella variabilis: A transcriptomic analysis of the immediate-early innate immune response.
Authors: D. D. Dunigan, J. L. Van Etten.

Aquatic Virus Workshop 7, held in St. Petersburg, Florida, USA, November 2013.
Title (Oral presentation):  Gene gang analysis in Chlorovirus genome evolution: Surprising conservation of gene synteny.
Authors: D. D. Dunigan, P. Seitzer, M. Facciotti, F. Ma, A. Jeanniard, J. L. Van Etten.



Cornell University
Postdoctoral Fellow, Virology
(1985 - 1988)

The University of Connecticut
Ph.D., Biochemistry

University of Southern Indiana
B.S. Life Science/Chemistry

Research Interests

Our research is focused on host-virus interactions, especially as it relates to pathogenesis. I have investigated several eukaryotic viral systems, including both animal and plant viruses. In considering virus infections generally, I have searched for common functions and events that tend to unite themes in virology. These have included i) the ability of most viruses to capture components of the cellular metabolic functions, and ii) the consequences of infection.

For the past several years, I have worked in collaboration with Dr. James Van Etten, a "foundingfather" of the family Phycodnaviridae - the algal viruses. The type member of the genus Chlorovirus is Paramecium bursaria chlorella virus-1 (PBCV-1). The Chloroviruses are evolutionarily related to other large DNA viruses, such as poxviruses, African swine fever virus, iridoviruses, and Mimiviruses; collectively known as “giant viruses”. We are investigating many aspects of the Chloroviruses including the virion structure and proteome, genome structure, function and evolution, metabolic changes associated with infections, as well as the role of algal viruses in aquatic ecosystems. In recent years, we have collaborated with Dr. Robert Yolken and his team at the Johns Hopkins University Medical Center regarding the extraordinary observation they have made when evaluating the transcriptomes of post mortem brains from individuals with serious mental disorders. They made an association of psychiatric disorders to Chloroviruses. Our role has been, in part, to bring to light the natural history of the Chloroviruses. In addition to defining the hosts in aquatic systems, we are now evaluating a key issue, can these viruses replicate in mammalian cells and/or tissues?