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Robert S. Fujinami

Robert S. Fujinami, PhD

Languages spoken: English

Academic Information

Departments Emeritus - Pathology

Academic Office Information

Research Interests

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Seizures
  • Neurovirology
  • Neuroimmunology

Robert Fujinami received his B.A. from the University of Utah through the then Honor Program in Microbiology. He completed his Ph.D. at Northwestern University and received post-doctoral training and Assistant Professorship at The Scripps Research Institute. Prior to coming to the University of Utah as Professor, he was an Associate Professor at University of California, San Diego. He was the first Harry M. Weaver Neuroscience Scholar of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, an AAAS fellow, recipient of Javits Neuroscience Scholar Award (NIH), and Vice President for the International Society for NeuroVirology. He has served as a member on 5 different NIH study sections and a recipient of NIH funding for over 30 years. His lab studies preclinical models for the understanding and treatment of multiple sclerosis and epilepsy ( His University service includes Chair of the Promotion, Retention and Tenure and Tenure Faculty Review Committees in the Department of Neurology, University of Utah Biosafety Committee and SOM Faculty Appointment Review Advancement Committee. He has served as member on the University Promotions and Tenure Advisory Committee, Academic Senate Task Force on Retention Promotion Tenure Procedures, University Research Committee, IACUC, Personnel & Elections Committee, the Academic Senate (twice) and President of the Academic Senate. He is Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs for University of Utah Health.

Specialties – Neuroimmunology, Neurovirology, Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy

Education History

Postdoctoral Fellowship Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation
Postdoctoral Fellow
Northwestern University
Undergraduate University of Utah
BA (Hons)

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. Brown DG, Soto R, Yandamuri S, Stone C, Dickey L, Gomes-Neto, JC, Pastuzyn ED, Bell R, Petersen C, Buhrke K, Fujinami RS, OConnell RM, Stephens WZ, Shepherd JD, Lane TE, Round JL (2019). The microbiota protects from viral-induced neurologic damage through microglia-intrinsic TLR signaling. Elife, 8,, e47117.
  2. Sanchez JMS, DePaula-Silva AB, Doty DJ, Truong A, Libbey JE, Fujinami RS (2019). Microglial cell depletion is fatal with low level picornavirus infection of the central nervous system. J Neurovirol, 25(3), 415-21.
  3. Zhao P, Wang P, Dong S, Zhou Z, Cao Y, Yagita H, He X, Zheng SG, Fisher SJ, Fujinami RS, Chen M (2019). Depletion of PD-1-positive cells ameliorates autoimmune disease. Nat Biomed Eng, 3(4), 292-305.
  4. Hanak TJ, Libbey JE, Doty DJ, Sim JT, DePaula-Silva AB, Fujinami RS (2019). Positive modulation of mGluR5 attenuates seizures and reduces TNF-α+ macrophages and microglia in the brain in a murine model of virus-induced temporal lobe epilepsy. Exp Neurol, 311,, 194-204.
  5. Grist JJ, Marro BS, Skinner DD, Syage AR, Worne C, Doty DJ, Fujinami RS, Lane TE (2018). Induced CNS expression of CXCL1 augments neurologic disease in a murine model of multiple sclerosis via enhanced neutrophil recruitment. Eur J Immunol, 48(7), 1199-210.
  6. Cusick MF, Libbey JE, Doty DJ, DePaula-Silva AB, Fujinami RS (2017). The role of peripheral interleukin-6 in the development of acute seizures following virus encephalitis. J Neurovirol, 23(5), 696-703.
  7. Libbey JE, Fujinami RS (2016). Variable Genome Sequences of the Murine Pneumotropic Virus (Polyomaviridae) Regulatory Region Isolated from an Infected Mouse Tissue Viral Suspension. Genome Announc, 4(3), e00405-e00416.
  8. Libbey JE, Fujinami RS (2016). Complete Genome Sequence of Murine Pneumotropic Virus (Polyomaviridae) Clone pKV(37-1). Genome Announc, 4(3), e00404-e00416.
  9. Cusick MF, Libbey JE, Cox Gill J, Fujinami RS, Eckels DD (2013). CD4+ T-cell engagement by both wild-type and variant HCV peptides modulates the conversion of viral clearing helper T cells to Tregs. Future Virol, 8(7), 695-705.
  10. Stewart KA, Wilcox KS, Fujinami RS, White HS (2009). Theiler's virus infection chronically alters seizure susceptibility. Epilepsia, 51(8), 1418-28.
  11. Kirkman NJ, Libbey JE, Wilcox KS, White HS, Fujinami RS (2009). Innate but not adaptive immune responses contribute to behavioral seizures following viral infection. Epilepsia, 51(3), 454-64.
  12. Theil DJ, Libbey JE, Rodriguez F, Whitton JL, Tsunoda I, Derfuss TJ, Fujinami RS (2008). Targeting myelin proteolipid protein to the MHC class I pathway by ubiquitination modulates the course of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. J Neuroimmunol, 204(1-2), 92-100.
  13. Peterson LK, Masaki T, Wheelwright SR, Tsunoda I, Fujinami RS (2008). Cross-reactive myelin antibody induces renal pathology. Autoimmunity, 41(7), 526-36.
  14. Tsunoda I, Tanaka T, Fujinami RS (2008). Regulatory role of CD1d in neurotropic virus infection. J Virol, 82(20), 10279-89.
  15. Peterson LK, Tsunoda I, Libbey JE, Fujinami RS (2008). Role of B:T cell ratio in suppression of clinical signs: a model for silent MS. Exp Mol Pathol, 85(1), 28-39.
  16. Peterson LK, Tsunoda I, Fujinami RS (2008). Role of CD5+ B-1 cells in EAE pathogenesis. Autoimmunity, 41(5), 353-62.
  17. Libbey JE, Kirkman NJ, Smith MC, Tanaka T, Wilcox KS, White HS, Fujinami RS (2008). Seizures following picornavirus infection. Epilepsia, 49(6), 1066-74.
  18. Kirkman NJ, Libbey JE, Sweeten TL, Coon HH, Miller JN, Stevenson EK, Lainhart JE, McMahon WM, Fujinami RS (2007). How relevant are GFAP autoantibodies in autism and Tourette Syndrome? J Autism Dev Disord, 38(2), 333-41.
  19. Libbey JE, Coon HH, Kirkman NJ, Sweeten TL, Miller JN, Stevenson EK, Lainhart JE, McMahon WM, Fujinami RS (2007). Are there enhanced MBP autoantibodies in autism? J Autism Dev Disord, 38(2), 324-32.
  20. Wang X, Ma Y, Yoder A, Crandall H, Zachary JF, Fujinami RS, Weis JH, Weis JJ (2007). T cell infiltration is associated with increased Lyme arthritis in TLR2-/- mice. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol, 52(1), 124-33.
  21. Tsunoda I, Tanaka T, Saijoh Y, Fujinami RS (2007). Targeting inflammatory demyelinating lesions to sites of Wallerian degeneration. Am J Pathol, 171(5), 1563-75.
  22. Tsunoda I, Libbey JE, Fujinami RS (2007). TGF-beta1 suppresses T cell infiltration and VP2 puff B mutation enhances apoptosis in acute polioencephalitis induced by Theiler's virus. J Neuroimmunol, 190(1-2), 80-9.
  23. Tsunoda I, Libbey JE, Fujinami RS (2007). Sequential polymicrobial infections lead to CNS inflammatory disease: possible involvement of bystander activation in heterologous immunity. J Neuroimmunol, 188(1-2), 22-33.
  24. Libbey JE, Coon HH, Kirkman NJ, Sweeten TL, Miller JN, Lainhart JE, McMahon WM, Fujinami RS (2007). Are there altered antibody responses to measles, mumps, or rubella viruses in autism? J Neurovirol, 13(3), 252-9.
  25. Libbey JE, Tsunoda I, Whitton JL, Fujinami RS (2006). Infectious RNA isolated from the spinal cords of mice chronically infected with Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus. J Virol, 81(6), 3009-11.
  26. Peterson LK, Fujinami RS (2006). Inflammation, demyelination, neurodegeneration and neuroprotection in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis. J Neuroimmunol, 184(1-2), 37-44.
  27. Peterson LK, Tsunoda I, Masaki T, Fujinami RS (2007). Polyreactive myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibodies: Implications for systemic autoimmunity in progressive experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. J Neuroimmunol, 183(1-2), 69-80.
  28. Tsunoda I, Tanaka T, Terry EJ, Fujinami RS (2007). Contrasting roles for axonal degeneration in an autoimmune versus viral model of multiple sclerosis: When can axonal injury be beneficial? Am J Pathol, 170(1), 214-26.
  29. Tsunoda I, Terry EJ, Marble BJ, Lazarides E, Woods C, Fujinami RS (2007). Modulation of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by VLA-2 blockade. Brain Pathol, 17(1), 45-55.
  30. Burgess NK, Sweeten TL, McMahon WM, Fujinami RS (2006). Hyperserotoninemia and altered immunity in autism. J Autism Dev Disord, 36(5), 697-704.
  31. Libbey JE, Peterson LK, Tsunoda I, Fujinami RS (2006). Monoclonal MOG-reactive autoantibody from progressive EAE has the characteristics of a natural antibody. J Neuroimmunol, 173(1-2), 135-45.
  32. Tsunoda I, Libbey JE, Kobayashi-Warren M, Fujinami RS (2005). IFN-gamma production and astrocyte recognition by autoreactive T cells induced by Theiler's virus infection: role of viral strains and capsid proteins. J Neuroimmunol, 172(1-2), 85-93.
  33. Tsunoda I, Kuang LQ, Kobayashi-Warren M, Fujinami RS (2005). Central nervous system pathology caused by autoreactive CD8+ T-cell clones following virus infection. J Virol, 79(23), 14640-6.
  34. Tsunoda I, Libbey JE, Kuang LQ, Terry EJ, Fujinami RS (2005). Massive apoptosis in lymphoid organs in animal models for primary and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. Am J Pathol, 167(6), 1631-46.
  35. Tsunoda I, Kuang LQ, Igenge IZ, Fujinami RS (2004). Converting relapsing remitting to secondary progressive experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) by ultraviolet B irradiation. J Neuroimmunol, 160(1-2), 122-34.
  36. Tsunoda I, Lane TE, Blackett J, Fujinami RS (2004). Distinct roles for IP-10/CXCL10 in three animal models, Theiler's virus infection, EAE, and MHV infection, for multiple sclerosis: implication of differing roles for IP-10. Mult Scler, 10(1), 26-34.
  37. Wang M, Howell JM, Libbey JE, Tainer JA, Fujinami RS (2003). Manganese superoxide dismutase induction during measles virus infection. J Med Virol, 70(3), 470-4.
  38. Tsunoda I, Kuang LQ, Libbey JE, Fujinami RS (2003). Axonal injury heralds virus-induced demyelination. Am J Pathol, 162(4), 1259-69.
  39. Tsunoda I, Kuang LQ, Fujinami RS (2002). Induction of autoreactive CD8+ cytotoxic T cells during Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus infection: implications for autoimmunity. J Virol, 76(24), 12834-44.
  40. McCright IJ, Tsunoda I, Libbey JE, Fujinami RS (2002). Mutation in loop I of VP1 of Theiler's virus delays viral RNA release into cells and enhances antibody-mediated neutralization: a mechanism for the failure of persistence by the mutant virus. J Neurovirol, 8(2), 100-10.
  41. Libbey JE, Tsunoda I, Fujinami RS (2002). Altered cell growth and morphology in a BHK-21 cell mutant that lacks a receptor for Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus. Virology, 294(1), 85-93.
  42. Tsunoda I, Wada Y, Libbey JE, Cannon TS, Whitby FG, Fujinami RS (2001). Prolonged gray matter disease without demyelination caused by Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus with a mutation in VP2 puff B. J Virol, 75(16), 7494-505.
  43. Theil DJ, Tsunoda I, Rodriguez F, Whitton JL, Fujinami RS (2001). Viruses can silently prime for and trigger central nervous system autoimmune disease. J Neurovirol, 7(3), 220-7.
  44. Libbey JE, McCright IJ, Tsunoda I, Wada Y, Fujinami RS (2001). Peripheral nerve protein, P0, as a potential receptor for Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus. J Neurovirol, 7(2), 97-104.
  45. Tsunoda I, Kuang LQ, Theil DJ, Fujinami RS (2000). Antibody association with a novel model for primary progressive multiple sclerosis: induction of relapsing-remitting and progressive forms of EAE in H2s mouse strains. Brain Pathol, 10(3), 402-18.
  46. Theil DJ, Tsunoda I, Libbey JE, Derfuss TJ, Fujinami RS (2000). Alterations in cytokine but not chemokine mRNA expression during three distinct Theiler's virus infections. J Neuroimmunol, 104(1), 22-30.
  47. Tsunoda I, Tolley ND, Theil DJ, Whitton JL, Kobayashi H, Fujinami RS (1999). Exacerbation of viral and autoimmune animal models for multiple sclerosis by bacterial DNA. Brain Pathol, 9(3), 481-93.
  48. Wang LY, Theil DJ, Whitton JL, Fujinami RS (1999). Infection with a recombinant vaccinia virus encoding myelin proteolipid protein causes suppression of chronic relapsing-remitting experimental allergic encephalomyelitis. J Neuroimmunol, 96(2), 148-57.
  49. McCright IJ, Tsunoda I, Whitby FG, Fujinami RS (1999). Theiler's viruses with mutations in loop I of VP1 lead to altered tropism and pathogenesis. J Virol, 73(4), 2814-24.
  50. Tsunoda I, Sette A, Fujinami RS, Oseroff C, Ruppert J, Dahlberg C, Southwood S, Arrhenius T, Kuang LQ, Kubo RT, Chesnut RW, Ishioka GY (1999). Lipopeptide particles as the immunologically active component of CTL inducing vaccines. Vaccine, 17(7-8), 675-85.
  51. Tolley ND, Tsunoda I, Fujinami RS (1999). DNA vaccination against Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus leads to alterations in demyelinating disease. J Virol, 73(2), 993-1000.
  52. Fujinami RS, Sun X, Howell JM, Jenkin JC, Burns JB (1998). Modulation of immune system function by measles virus infection: role of soluble factor and direct infection. J Virol, 72(12), 9421-7.
  53. Wada Y, McCright IJ, Whitby FG, Tsunoda I, Fujinami RS (1998). Replacement of loop II of VP1 of the DA strain with loop II of the GDVII strain of Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus alters neurovirulence, viral persistence, and demyelination. J Virol, 72(9), 7557-62.
  54. Tsunoda I, Kuang LQ, Tolley ND, Whitton JL, Fujinami RS (1998). Enhancement of experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) by DNA immunization with myelin proteolipid protein (PLP) plasmid DNA. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol, 57(8), 758-67.
  55. Sun X, Burns JB, Howell JM, Fujinami RS (1998). Suppression of antigen-specific T cell proliferation by measles virus infection: role of a soluble factor in suppression. Virology, 246(1), 24-33.
  56. Tsunoda I, McCright IJ, Kuang LQ, Zurbriggen A, Fujinami RS (1997). Hydrocephalus in mice infected with a Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus variant. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol, 56(12), 1302-13.
  57. Bell AF, Whitton JL, Fujinami RS (1997). Antisense-mediated resistance to measles virus infection in HeLa cells. J Infect Dis, 176(1), 258-61.
  58. Bell AF, Burns JB, Fujinami RS (1997). Measles virus infection of human T cells modulates cytokine generation and IL-2 receptor alpha chain expression. Virology, 232(2), 241-7.
  59. McCright IJ, Fujinami RS (1997). Lack of correlation of Theiler's virus binding to cells with infection. J Neurovirol, 3 Suppl 1,, S68-70.
  60. Wang LY, Fujinami RS (1997). Enhancement of EAE and induction of autoantibodies to T-cell epitopes in mice infected with a recombinant vaccinia virus encoding myelin proteolipid protein. J Neuroimmunol, 75(1-2), 75-83.
  61. Tsunoda I, Kurtz CI, Fujinami RS (1997). Apoptosis in acute and chronic central nervous system disease induced by Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus. Virology, 228(2), 388-93.
  62. Barnett LA, Whitton JL, Wang LY, Fujinami RS (1996). Virus encoding an encephalitogenic peptide protects mice from experimental allergic encephalomyelitis. J Neuroimmunol, 64(2), 163-73.
  63. Kurtz CI, Sun XM, Fujinami RS (1995). B-lymphocyte requirement for vaccine-mediated protection from Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus-induced central nervous system disease. J Virol, 69(8), 5152-5.
  64. Kurtz CI, Sun XM, Fujinami RS (1995). Protection of SJL/J mice from demyelinating disease mediated by Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus. Microb Pathog, 18(1), 11-27.
  65. Kurtz CI, McCarron RM, Spatz M, Fujinami RS (1994). Characterization of a murine central nervous system-derived cell line: infectability and presentation of viral antigen. J Neuroimmunol, 51(1), 35-43.
  66. Wada Y, Pierce ML, Fujinami RS (1994). Importance of amino acid 101 within capsid protein VP1 for modulation of Theiler's virus-induced disease. J Virol, 68(2), 1219-23.
  67. Wada Y, Fujinami RS (1993). Viral infection and dissemination through the olfactory pathway and the limbic system by Theiler's virus. Am J Pathol, 143(1), 221-9.
  68. Zurbriggen A, Thomas C, Yamada M, Roos RP, Fujinami RS (1991). Direct evidence of a role for amino acid 101 of VP-1 in central nervous system disease in Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus infection. J Virol, 65(4), 1929-37.


  1. Libbey JE, Fujinami RS (2021). Viral mouse models used to study multiple sclerosis: past and present. [Review]. Arch Virol, 166(4), 1015-1033.
  2. Bartolini L, Libbey JE, Ravizza T, Fujinami RS, Jacobson S, Gaillard WD (2019). Viral Triggers and Inflammatory Mechanisms in Pediatric Epilepsy. [Review]. Mol Neurobiol, 56(3), 1897-907.
  3. DePaula-Silva AB, Hanak TJ, Libbey JE, Fujinami RS (2017). Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus infection of SJL/J and C57BL/6J mice: Models for multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. [Review]. J Neuroimmunol, 308, 30-42.
  4. Vezzani A, Fujinami RS, White HS, Preux PM, Blumcke I, Sander JW, Loscher W (2016). Infections, inflammation and epilepsy. [Review]. Acta Neuropathol, 131(2), 211-34.
  5. Libbey JE, Cusick MF, Fujinami RS (2014). Role of pathogens in multiple sclerosis. [Review]. Int Rev Immunol, 33(4), 266-83.
  6. Libbey JE, Lane TE, Fujinami RS (2014). Axonal pathology and demyelination in viral models of multiple sclerosis. [Review]. Discov Med, 18(97), 79-89.
  7. Cusick MF, Libbey JE, Fujinami RS (2014). Picornavirus infection leading to immunosuppression. [Review]. Future Virol, 9(5), 475-82.
  8. Cusick MF, Libbey JE, Fujinami RS (2013). Multiple sclerosis: autoimmunity and viruses. [Review]. Curr Opin Rheumatol, 25(4), 496-501.
  9. Cusick MF, Libbey JE, Fujinami RS (2012). Molecular mimicry as a mechanism of autoimmune disease. [Review]. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol, 42(1), 102-11.
  10. Libbey JE, Fujinami RS (2011). Neurotropic viral infections leading to epilepsy: focus on Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus. [Review]. Future Virol, 6(11), 1339-50.
  11. Libbey JE, Fujinami RS (2011). Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis as a testing paradigm for adjuvants and vaccines. [Review]. Vaccine, 29(17), 3356-62.
  12. Libbey JE, Fujinami RS (2010). Role for antibodies in altering behavior and movement. [Review]. Autism Res, 3(4), 147-52.

Conference Proceedings

  1. Fujinami RS (2002). Molecular mimicry that primes for autoimmunity which is triggered by infection. Proceedings from the Banbury Center of Cold Spring Harbor meeting on microbiology, immunology and toxicology of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, Long Island, NY. Mol Psychiatry, 7 Suppl 2, S32-3.


  1. DePaula-Silva AB, Gorbea C, Doty DJ, Libbey JE, Sanchez JMS, Cazalla D, Fujinami RS (2019). "Modulation of TREM-1 activation in macrophages alters the development of acute seizures," 16th International Symposium on NeuroVirology, Atlanta, Georgia [Abstract].