David D. Dunigan, Ph. D.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Plant Pathology
Morrison Center
Lincoln, NE 68583-0900

Research Professor

Dr Dunigan's research focuses on host-virus interactions, especially as it relates to the consequences of infection. For the past several years he has 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”. He is 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. His team collaborates 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 and what are the neurological consequences of these infections.


1985 - 1988

Postdoctoral Fellow, Virology - Cornell University


Ph.D.,Biochemistry - The University of Connecticut


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

Professsional Experience

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

Research Publication


Courses Taught

  • Virology
  • Biology of AIDS
  • Cell Biology & Cell Biology Laboratory
  • Seminar in Microbiology
  • Readings in Virology
  • Advanced Virology
  • Virus Replication Mechanisms
  • Transcriptional Control

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