A photo of David Bernstein.

David I. Bernstein, MD, MA

  • Director, Gamble Program and VTEU
  • Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



As a researcher, I am interested in vaccines for common infections that have significant impact on human health. Most of the vaccines I study are related to herpes viruses, rotavirus, norovirus and influenza.

During my fellowship, I became interested in herpes viruses and vaccines. Upon arrival at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, I began investigating the immunobiology of genital herpes infections using animal models. During this time, I also became interested in rotavirus and, along with my colleague Dr. Richard Ward, I examined the epidemiology and immunology of rotavirus infections.

This work led to the development of a live attenuated human rotavirus vaccine, initially named 89-12. After further modification, this vaccine became the GlaxoSmithKline rotavirus vaccine Rotarix, now available in over 100 countries including the United States and the European Union.

Currently, I evaluate vaccines and antivirals for herpes simplex and cytomegalovirus in animals through our National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded contract and industry, as well as in clinical trials through our NIH-funded Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU) and industry. We also evaluate vaccines for influenza, avian influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), norovirus and COVID-19 through the VTEU.

As the former Albert Sabin Professor of pediatrics and former director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Cincinnati Children’s, I have published over 300 manuscripts and book chapters on infectious diseases, vaccines and antivirals. The NIH has funded our VTEU site for over 25 years and our animal contract for close to 30 years.

For these accomplishments, I was honored to receive the Stanly Plotkin Award for vaccine research.

MA: Microbiology, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, 1973.

MD: State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine, Buffalo, NY, 1977.

Residency: Pediatrics, University of Southern California Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA; Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA.

Fellowship: Pediatric Infectious Disease, University of California, Los Angeles, CA.

Certification: American Board of Medical Examiners, 1978; American Board of Pediatrics, 1981; Pediatrics, 1982.


Rotavirus; herpes simplex virus; cytomegalovirus; preclinical and clinical evaluations of vaccine; immune response to herpes virus


Evaluation of vaccines and antivirals for herpes and rotovirus; development of improved adjuvants and delivery systems for vaccines; treatment and prevention of influenza, norovirus and parvovirus infections

Research Areas

Infectious Diseases


A Multicenter, Controlled Human Infection Study of Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 in Healthy Adults. Ortiz, JR; Bernstein, DI; Hoft, DF; Woods, CW; Mcclain, MT; Frey, SE; Brady, RC; Bryant, C; Wegel, A; Frenck, RW; et al. Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2023; 228:287-298.

Cross protective efficacy of the Non-Neurotropic live attenuated herpes simplex virus type 1 vaccine VC-2 is enhanced by intradermal vaccination and deletion of glycoprotein G. Stanfield, BA; Bravo, FJ; Dixon, DA; Chouljenko, VN; Kousoulas, KG; Bernstein, DI. Vaccine. 2022; 40:6093-6099.

Influenza vaccines: where we are, where we are going. Khalil, N; Bernstein, DI. Current Opinion in Pediatrics. 2022; 34:119-125.

Rotavirus Vaccines-Going Strong After 15 Years. Bernstein, DI. JAMA Pediatrics. 2021; 175:e210356.

A helicase-primase drug candidate with sufficient target tissue exposure affects latent neural herpes simplex virus infections. Gege, C; Bravo, FJ; Uhlig, N; Hagmaier, T; Schmachtenberg, R; Elis, J; Burger-Kentischer, A; Finkelmeier, D; Hamprecht, K; Grunwald, T; et al. Science Translational Medicine. 2021; 13:eabf8668.

Immunogenicity and safety of different dose schedules and antigen doses of an MF59-adjuvanted H7N9 vaccine in healthy adults aged 65 years and older. Winokur, P; El Sahly, HM; Mulligan, MJ; Frey, SE; Rupp, R; Anderson, EJ; Edwards, KM; Bernstein, DI; Schmader, K; Jackson, LA; et al. Vaccine. 2021; 39:1339-1348.

Safety and immunogenicity of an intranasal sendai virus-based vaccine for human parainfluenza virus type I and respiratory syncytial virus (SeVRSV) in adults. Scaggs Huang, F; Bernstein, DI; Slobod, KS; Portner, A; Takimoto, T; Russell, CJ; Meagher, M; Jones, BG; Sealy, RE; Coleclough, C; et al. Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics. 2021; 17:554-559.

A chimeric hemagglutinin-based universal influenza virus vaccine approach induces broad and long-lasting immunity in a randomized, placebo-controlled phase I trial. Nachbagauer, R; Feser, J; Naficy, A; Bernstein, DI; Guptill, J; Walter, EB; Berlanda-Scorza, F; Stadlbauer, D; Wilson, PC; Aydillo, T; et al. Nature Medicine. 2021; 27:106-114.

Influenza Challenge Models: Ready for Prime Time?. Bernstein, DI; Atmar, RL; Hoft, DF. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2020; 71:3012-3013.

Continued Evidence of the Impact of Rotavirus Vaccine in Children Less Than 3 Years of Age From the United States New Vaccine Surveillance Network: A Multisite Active Surveillance Program, 2006-2016. Staat, MA; Payne, DC; Halasa, N; Weinberg, GA; Donauer, S; Wikswo, M; McNeal, M; Edwards, KM; Szilagyi, PG; Bernstein, DI; et al. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2020; 71:e421-e429.

From the Blog

Drug Candidate Shows ‘Potent Anti-Herpes Activity’
Infectious Diseases and Vaccines

Drug Candidate Shows ‘Potent Anti-Herpes Activity’

David I. Bernstein, MD, MA6/17/2021

Clinical Trial Results: Universal Flu Vax Candidate Reaches 18-Month Milestone
Infectious Diseases and Vaccines

Clinical Trial Results: Universal Flu Vax Candidate Reaches 18-Month Milestone

David I. Bernstein, MD, MA, Monica Malone McNeal, MS12/7/2020

‘R2’ Herpes Vaccine Shows Promise
Infectious Diseases and Vaccines

‘R2’ Herpes Vaccine Shows Promise

David I. Bernstein, MD, MA11/9/2020

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