Dr. Rachel Graham

Rachel Graham, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Epidemiology
3109 Michael Hooker Research Building
CB #7435
Chapel Hill, NC 27599


Dr. Graham is an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her PhD in microbiology and immunology from Vanderbilt University in 2006, from the laboratory of Mark Denison, MD, after which she came to the laboratory of Ralph Baric, PhD, to continue her studies.

Her training has focused on the molecular virology of coronaviruses, with a concentration on the mechanisms by which coronaviruses replicate, adapt to selective pressure, and emerge in novel host populations. Dr. Graham’s research emphases include coronavirus replication fidelity, viral genome recombination, candidate live-attenuated vaccine design and phylogenetic and molecular analyses of coronavirus genomes as they emerge and adapt to novel hosts. Dr. Graham began actively studying coronaviruses just prior to the SARS-CoV epidemic in 2003.

Dr. Graham also currently serves as a member of the UNC Institutional Biosafety Committee.

Rachel Graham in the Gillings News

Key Publications

An orally bioavailable broad-spectrum antiviral inhibits SARS-CoV-2 and multiple endemic, epidemic and bat coronaviruses. T.P. Sheahan, A.C. Sims, S. Zhou, R.L. Graham, C.S. Hill, S.R. Leist, A. Schäfer, K.H. Dinnon, S.A. Montgomery, M.L. Agostini, A.J. Pruijssers, J.D. Chapell, A.J. Brown, G.R. Bluemling, M.G. Natchus, M. Saindane, A.A. Kolykhalov, G. Painter, J, Harcourt, A. Tamin, N.J. Thornburg, R. Swanstrom, M.R. Denison, and R.S. Baric (2020). Science Translational Medicine, pii: eabb5883.

Receptor recognition by the novel coronavirus from Wuhan: an analysis based on decade-long structural studies of SARS coronavirus. Y. Wan, J. Shang, R.L. Graham, R.S. Baric, and F. Li.  (2020). Journal of Virology, 94(e00127).

Evaluation of a recombination-resistant coronavirus as a broadly applicable, rapidly implementable vaccine platform. R.L. Graham, D.J. Deming, M.E. Deming, B.L. Yount, and R.S. Baric. (2018). Communications Biology, 1(:), 179.

Viral metagenomics, protein structure, and reverse genetics: Key strategies for investigating coronaviruses. B.A. Johnston, R.L. Graham, and V.D. Menachery (2017). Virology, 517(17), 30-37.

A Decade After SARS: Strategies for Controlling Emerging Coronaviruses. R.L. Graham, E.F. Donaldson, and R.S. Baric. (2013). Nature Reviews Microbiology, 11(:), 836-848.

A live, impaired-fidelity coronavirus vaccine protects in an aged, immunocompromised mouse model of lethal disease. R.L. Graham, M.M. Becker, L.D. Eckerle, M. Bolles, M.R. Denison, and R.S. Baric (2012). Nature Medicine, 18(12), 1820–1826.

Recombination, Reservoirs, and the Modular Spike: Mechanisms of Coronavirus Cross-Species Transmission. R.L. Graham and R.S. Baric. (2010). Journal of Virology, 84(:), 3134-3146.


  • PhD, Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University, 2007
  • BS, Biology, University of Kentucky, 2001