David D. Dunigan, Ph. D.

Research 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

2014 - Present
Research Professor, Department of Plant Pathology University of Nebraska-Lincoln

2008 – 2014
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

“A virus, some algae, confused mice? What a stupid idea.”, Nebraska Center for Virology Science Series, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, February 2015

“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

“On the development of an on-line forum for the environmental virus ecology community”, Aquatic Virus Workshop 7, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA, November 2013

Selected Recent Publications

Agarkova I., Hertel B., Zhang X., Lane L., Tchourbanov A., Dunigan D.D., Thiel G., Rossmann M.G., Van Etten J.L. (2014). Dynamic Attachment of Chlorovirus PBCV-1 to Chlorella variabilis. Virology 2014 Sep 17. pii: S0042-6822(14)00305-5. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2014.07.002



Yolken R.H., Jones-Brando L., Dunigan D.D., Kannan G., Dickerson F.B., Severance E.G., Subunciyan S., Talbot C.C., Prandovszky E., Gurnon J.R., Leister F., Gressitt K.L., Chen O., Agarkova I.V.,  Ma F., Pletnikov M., Van Etten J.L. (2014). Chlorovirus ATCV-1 as a novel virus associated with cognitive dysfunction in humans and experimental mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA). doi/10.1073/pnas.1418895111


Van Etten, J.L. and Dunigan, D.D. (2014). “Voyages with Chloroviruses”, in The Phage World; Editor Forest Rhoerer, Wholon, San Diego.


Thiel, G., Greiner, T., Dunigan, D. D., Moroni, A., Van Etten, J. L. (2015). Large dsDNA chloroviruses encode several membrane transport proteins. Virology, in press.

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


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

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]


Blanc G., Mozar M., Agarkova I. ., Gurnon J. R., Yanai-Balser G., Rowe J. M., Xia Y., Riethoven J-J., Dunigan D. D., Van Etten J. L. (2014) Deep RNA Sequencing Reveals Hidden Features and Dynamics of Early Gene Transcription in Paramecium bursaria Chlorella Virus 1. PLoS ONE 9(3): e90989. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090989

Rowe J. M., Jeanniard A., Gurnon J. R.; Xia Y., Dunigan D. D., Van Etten J. L., Blanc G. (2014). Global Analysis of Chlorella variabilis NC64A mRNA Profiles During the Early Phase of Paramecium bursaria Chlorella Virus-1 Infection. PLoS ONE 9(3): e90988. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090988

Recent Selected Abstracts:

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.

Annual Meeting of the Stanley Medical Research Institute, held in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, December 2013. 
Title (Oral presentation): Update on phycodnavirus research.
Authors: David D. Dunigan, James 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

My research focuses on host-virus interactions, especially as it relates to the consequences of infection. For the past several years I have studied the chloroviruses, which are evolutionarily related to other large DNA viruses, such as asfar, asco, irido, marseille, mimi and pox viruses; collectively known as “giant viruses”. We are investigating many aspects of chloroviruses including the virion structure and function; genome structure, function and evolution; metabolic changes associated with infections, as well as the role of algal viruses in aquatic ecosystems. We collaborate with a team of researchers at the Johns Hopkins University regarding the extraordinary observation they made when evaluating post mortem brains from individuals with serious mental disorders: individuals with psychiatric disorders tend to have chlorovirus sequences in the brain. Our role has been to evaluate the natural history to address the issue of the likelihood of humans coming into contact with chloroviruses. In addition to defining the hosts in aquatic systems, we are evaluating a key issue to this linkage, can chloroviruses replicate in mammalian cells and/or tissues?