A photo of Karnail Singh.

Karnail Singh, PhD

  • Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



I became interested in medical research after seeing the human suffering that results from contracting dangerous infectious diseases, especially in resource-poor countries. My research work is focused on preventing these infections through the use of current and novel vaccines. I believe with my knowledge and skills, I can contribute to reducing the incidence of, or even eliminating, certain infectious diseases. My goal is to mitigate the suffering caused by infectious diseases.

My research interests include the study of immunology, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, vaccine development and translation of knowledge gained from the bench to the clinic. I have been in research for over 28 years, and I began my work at Cincinnati Children’s in 2016.

In my lab, we are working to develop and evaluate novel candidate Ebola vaccines on virus-like-particles (VLPs) platform. Surface glycoproteins (GPs) from different Ebola species are expressed on different VLP matrices. Their potential to induce cross-protective immunity against different Ebola viruses will be studied in non-human primate models of Ebola virus disease (EVD). We are also focused on studying innate immune responses triggered by Ebola virus infections and how Ebola viruses evade innate barriers. In addition, we are researching the role of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in both health and disease.

One of our most notable recent discoveries includes the development and immunogenicity evaluation of a new universal Ebola vaccine that may fight all four virus species that infect humans. See more information.

Some of our additional discoveries include:

  • Determined the size of rhesus macaque (RM) peripheral regulatory T cell (Tregs) pool (75 ± 11 × 106 Tregs/kg)
  • Demonstrated the effects of rapamycin and interleukin-2 (IL-2) in preserving Treg persistence and phenotype after their therapeutic adoptive transfer
  • Identified aberrant ERK signaling downstream of the T-cell receptor and its therapeutic targeting in rheumatoid arthritis

It is my honor to have received several awards, including:

  • Joint Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-University Grants Commission (CSIR-UGC) National Eligibility Test (NET), India (1991)
  • Research Fellowship, University Grants Commission, India (1992-1997)
  • P.S. Murthy Award for best paper (infectious diseases) by the Association of Clinical Biochemists of India (1995)
  • Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS) Sevagram Award for best paper (infectious diseases) by the Association of Clinical Biochemists of India (1995)
  • Travel Award, Arthritis Foundation, USA (2007)
  • Junior Faculty Travel Award, American Association of Immunologists, USA (2009)
  • Best Abstract Award, American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, USA (2012)
  • Travel Award, First Midwest Virology Symposium, Columbus, OH, USA (2019)

MS: Panjab University, Chandigarh, India, 1991.

PhD: Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India, 1998.

Postdoc: Rutgers University, Emory University.


Immunology; infectious diseases; vaccine development and translation; autoimmune diseases.

Research Areas

Infectious Diseases


Intranasal parainfluenza virus type 5 (PIV5)-vectored RSV vaccine is safe and immunogenic in healthy adults in a phase 1 clinical study. Spearman, P; Jin, H; Knopp, K; Xiao, P; Gingerich, MC; Kidd, J; Singh, K; Tellier, M; Radziewicz, H; Wu, S; et al. Science Advances. 2023; 9:eadj7611.

Ebola virus protein VP40 induces accessory cell-mediated activation of human natural killer (NK) cells. Singh, K; Le, H. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). 2023; 210:71.33.

Ebola virus protein VP40 stimulates IL-12- and IL-18-dependent activation of human natural killer cells. Le, H; Spearman, P; Waggoner, SN; Singh, K. JCI insight. 2022; 7:e158902.

Parainfluenza Virus 5 Priming Followed by SIV/HIV Virus-Like-Particle Boosting Induces Potent and Durable Immune Responses in Nonhuman Primates. Xiao, P; Dienger-Stambaugh, K; Chen, X; Wei, H; Phan, S; Beavis, AC; Singh, K; Adhikary, NR D; Tiwari, P; Villinger, F; et al. Frontiers in Immunology. 2021; 12:623996.

A Bivalent, Spherical Virus-Like Particle Vaccine Enhances Breadth of Immune Responses against Pathogenic Ebola Viruses in Rhesus Macaques. Singh, K; Marasini, B; Chen, X; Ding, L; Wang, JJ; Xiao, P; Villinger, F; Spearman, P. Journal of Virology. 2020; 94:e01884-e01819.

IL-2 enhances ex vivo-expanded regulatory T-cell persistence after adoptive transfer. Furlan, SN; Singh, K; Lopez, C; Tkachev, V; Hunt, DJ; Hibbard, J; Betz, KM; Blazar, BR; Trapnell, C; Kean, LS. Blood Advances. 2020; 4:1594-1605.

From the Blog

New Universal Ebola Vaccine May Fight All Four Virus Species That Infect Humans
Infectious Diseases and Vaccines

New Universal Ebola Vaccine May Fight All Four Virus Species That Infect Humans

Karnail Singh, PhD, Paul Spearman, MD4/16/2020