Michael Emerman

Appointments and Affiliations

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Human Biology Division
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Basic Sciences Division
University of Washington
School of Medicine
Affiliate Professor
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program
Professional Headshot of Michael  Emerman

Mailing Address

1100 Fairview Ave. N
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Suite C2-023
Seattle, Washington 98109-1024
United States


Phone: (206) 667-5058
Fax: (206) 667-6523


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, Molecular and Cellular Biology, 1986.
B.S., Ohio State University, Biochemistry, 1981.

Research Interests

HIV host cell interactions

This laboratory studies the regulatory and structural genes of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in order to understand the molecular basis for its pathogenicity. Much of our focus is on identifying and characterizing host cell functions that are used to serve specific functions for viral replication and the evolution and function of intrinsic host defenses against retroviruses.

Intrinsic host defense: Primates have evolved a number of gene families that limit or restrict retroviral infections. In collaboraton with the lab of Harmit Malik at the FHCRC we are studying the evolution of function of these intrinsic anti-viral genes. We have found that some of these genes have been rapidly evolving throughout the history of primates and some have been under selective pressure in recent human history. We study how these genes function in humans and why they are or are not active against current viruses such as HIV.

HIV infection of non-dividing cells: HIV is unusual in its ability to infect non-dividing cells such as terminally differentiated macrophages. With most retroviruses, the cell must pass through mitosis for the viral DNA to enter the nucleus. However, HIV can enter the nucleus at any stage of the cell cycle. We are trying to understand events that occur immediately after the virus has entered the cell that allow HIV to subsequently enter the nucleus


(Reading, Writing, Speaking)

French: (Functional, Basic, Functional)


American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Society for Microbiology
American Society for Virology


  • : R01 AI30927 HIV Host-Cell Interactions, 1996 to 2015.


Recent Publications

Malfavon-Borja R, Wu LI, Emerman M, Malik HS.  2013.  Birth, decay, and reconstruction of an ancient TRIMCyp gene fusion in primate genomes.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 110(7):E583-92. Abstract
Spragg CJ, Emerman M.  2013.  Antagonism of SAMHD1 is actively maintained in natural infections of simian immunodeficiency virus.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 110(52):21136-41. Abstract
Compton AA, Malik HS, Emerman M.  2013.  Host gene evolution traces the evolutionary history of ancient primate lentiviruses.. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences. 368(1626):20120496. Abstract

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