A photo of Paul Spearman.

Director, Division of Infectious Diseases


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My Biography & Research


The devastating AIDS epidemic in the 1980s led me to a career in the area of infectious diseases. While the major motivation for working in this area is to prevent or treat infections, I’ve also always loved the intellectual detective work involved in deciphering an illness.

My strong desire to investigate HIV led me to take part in and then lead HIV vaccine trials. Along the way, I learned the science of vaccinology. The interest I have in vaccines has increased over time, as the impact of vaccines on the health of children and adults is truly tremendous.

In the area of HIV biology, my laboratory focuses on the assembly process of the virus. I’m fascinated with how the virus interacts with host cells, especially with the host trafficking machinery. We are investigating how the HIV envelope protein becomes incorporated into budding particles and defining the cellular pathways that direct this process. Another project focuses on the cellular pathways that direct the internalization of HIV particles by macrophages and microglia, and how these cell types transmit virus to other cells in their environment.

I direct vaccine trials for adults and children, which extends my research interests beyond HIV to Ebola, SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens. My team and I are currently developing virus-like particle vaccines for Ebola, HIV and SARS-CoV-2.

I am the immediate past president of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and serve on that organization’s board. I have served on numerous study sections for the National Institutes of Health and I am currently on the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) of the Food and Drug Administration.

I am a member of the Leadership Group for the Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Collaborative, which aligns with the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases within the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. This collaborative evaluates new vaccines and treatments for infectious diseases.

It’s important to me that I provide strong leadership and mentorship to early-career physician scientists. I lead our institutional Child Health Research Career Development Award (K-12) program.

Clinical Interests

Pediatric infectious diseases

Research Interests

HIV assembly; HIV biology/pathogenesis; HIV vaccines; vaccines and therapeutics for children (clinical trials)


Infectious Diseases, Infectious Diseases

Blog Posts

Physicians Advocate for COVID-19 Vaccine Trials in Kids

Infectious Diseases and Vaccines

Physicians Advocate for COVID-19 Vaccine Trials in Kids

Paul Spearman, MD, Robert W. Frenck Jr., MD9/18/2020

NIAID-Sponsored Ebola Vaccine Clinical Trial Begins

Infectious Diseases and Vaccines

NIAID-Sponsored Ebola Vaccine Clinical Trial Begins

Paul Spearman, MD7/3/2019

To Build Better Vaccines

Infectious Diseases and Vaccines

To Build Better Vaccines

Paul Spearman, MD6/30/2019

6 Things To Know About Paul Spearman, MD, New Director of Infectious Diseases

Infectious Diseases and Vaccines

6 Things To Know About Paul Spearman, MD, New Director of Infectious Diseases

Paul Spearman, MD6/30/2019

My Locations

My Education

MD: University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX, 1986.

Residency: Internal Medicine/Pediatrics, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 1986-1990.

Fellowship: Infectious Diseases, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, 1990-1993.

My Publications

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.

HIV-1 Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies Take the Road Less Traveled, and That Makes All the Difference. Roskin, K; Spearman, P. Cell Host and Microbe. 2020; 27:487-488.

Effect of recent seasonal influenza vaccination on serum antibody responses to candidate pandemic influenza A/H5N1 vaccines: A meta-analysis. Keitel, WA; Voronca, DC; Atmar, RL; Paust, S; Hill, H; Wolff, MC; Bellamy, AR; Belshe, RB; Bernstein, DB; Spearman, PW; et al. Vaccine. 2019; 37:5535-5543.

Rapid boosting of HIV-1 neutralizing antibody responses in humans following a prolonged immunologic rest period. Spearman, P; Tomaras, GD; Montefiori, DC; Huang, Y; Elizaga, ML; Ferrari, G; Munir Alam, S; Isaacs, A; Ahmed, H; Hural, J; et al. Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2019; 219:1755-1765.

Challenges and solutions for instituting an efficient maintenance program for laboratory equipment in Central Asian, and developing world, countries. Ikranbegiin, R; Schmid, G; Hoos, D; Young, A; Della-Latta, P; Spearman, P; Ramos, A; Alemayehu, B; Achmetova, B; Nauryzova, G; et al. BMC Public Health. 2019; 19.

The ability of SAMHD1 to block HIV-1 but not SIV requires expression of MxB. Buffone, C; Kutzner, J; Opp, S; Martinez-Lopez, A; Selyutina, A; Coggings, SA; Studdard, LR; Ding, L; Kim, B; Spearman, P; et al. Virology. 2019; 531:260-268.

DNA vaccine priming for seasonal influenza vaccine in children and adolescents 6 to 17 years of age: A phase 1 randomized clinical trial. Houser, KV; Yamshchikov, GV; Bellamy, AR; May, J; Enama, ME; Sarwar, U; Larkin, B; Bailer, RT; Koup, R; Paskel, M; et al. PLoS ONE. 2018; 13:e0206837-e0206837.

A novel Ebola virus antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (Ebola ADCC) assay. Singh, K; Marasini, B; Chen, X; Spearman, P. Journal of Immunological Methods. 2018; 460:10-16.

Targeted Elimination of Tumorigenic Human Pluripotent Stem Cells Using Suicide-Inducing Virus-like Particles. Rampoldi, A; Crooke, SN; Preininger, MK; Jha, R; Maxwell, J; Ding, L; Spearman, P; Finn, MG; Xu, C. ACS Chemical Biology. 2018; 13:2329-2338.

HIV-1 Envelope Glycoprotein Trafficking through the Endosomal Recycling Compartment Is Required for Particle Incorporation. Kirschman, J; Qi, M; Ding, L; Hammonds, J; Dienger-Stambaugh, K; Wang, J; Lapierre, LA; Goldenring, JR; Spearman, P. Journal of Virology. 2018; 92.