Gillings School Directory
Ralph S. Baric, PhD

Ralph S. Baric, PhD

William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor
Department of Epidemiology
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • 3304 Michael Hooker Research Building
  • CB #7435
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599
  • USA

Ralph Baric’s research specializes in coronaviruses and emerging infections like Zika virus. In a recent interview, he discusses whether the world is prepared for the next superbug outbreak.

In 2017, Dr. Baric was named to Clarivate Analytics’ Highly Cited Researchers list, which recognizes researchers from around the world who published the most widely cited papers in their field.

Several news stories from the Gillings School exemplify Dr. Baric's work:

- "Gillings School researchers receive $6M+ grant to fight infectious diseases" (August 2017)

- "New drug holds potential to defeat coronaviruses" (June 2017)

- "Collaborative lab environment leads to major weapon in Zika fight" (December 2016)

- "Antibodies from Dengue fever survivors can be used to prevent Zika infection" (July 2016)

- "Baric to lead $10 million NIH grant" (September 2013)

- "Baric receives $21.4M from NIAID to study life-threatening viral infections" (September 2012)

Honors and Awards

Innovation Award for Faculty Research

2011, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Established Investigator Award

1994, American Heart Association

Harvey Weaver Scholar

1986, National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Research Activities

Most of the research in the Baric Lab uses coronaviruses as models to study the genetics of RNA virus transcription, replication, persistence and cross-species transmission. Dr. Baric also has used alphavirus vaccine vectors to develop novel candidate vaccines.

Zoonotic viruses represent a potentially rich source of new emerging pathogens in humans, yet little information is available concerning the molecular, genetic and evolutionary mechanisms that regulate the establishment and dissemination of such a virus within a newly adopted host. Dr. Baric's group utilizes molecular, genetic and biochemical approaches to decipher the complex interactions between the virion and cell surface molecules that function in the entry and cross-species transmission of positive-strand RNA viruses.

Research Interest

  • Infectious Disease

Key Publications

MERS-CoV and H5N1 influenza virus antagonize antigen presentation by altering the epigenetic landscape. Menachery VD, Schäfer A, Burnum-Johnson KE, Mitchell HD, Eisfeld AJ, Walters KB, Nicora CD, Purvine SO, Casey CP, Monroe ME, Weitz KK, Stratton KG, Webb-Robertson BM, Gralinski LE, Metz TO, Smith RD, Waters KM, Sims AC, Kawaoka Y, Baric RS (2018). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(5), E1012-E1021.

Neutralization mechanism of a highly potent antibody against Zika virus. S Zhang, V Kostyuchenko, T Ng, X Lim, J Ooi, S Lambert, T Tan, D Widman, J Shi, R Baric, S Lok (2016). Nature communications, 7.

SARS-like WIV1-CoV poised for human emergence. V Menachery, B Yount, A Sims, K Debbink, S Agnihothram, L Gralinski, R Graham, T Scobey, J Plante, S Royal, J Swanstrom, T Sheahan, R Pickles, D Corti, S Randell, A Lanzavecchia, W Marasco, R Baric (2016). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence. V Menachery, B Yount, K Debbink, S Agnihothram, L Gralinski, J Plante, R Graham, T Scobey, X Ge, E Donaldson, S Randell, A Lanzavecchia, W Marasco, Z Shi, R Baric (2015). Nature medicine, 21(12), 1508-13.

Broad Blockade Antibody Responses in Human Volunteers after Immunization with a Multivalent Norovirus VLP Candidate Vaccine: Immunological Analyses from a Phase I Clinical Trial. Lisa Lindesmith, Martin Ferris, Clancy Mullan, Jennifer Ferreira, Kari Debbink, Jesica Swanstrom, Charles Richardson, Robert Goodwin, Frank Baehner, Paul Mendelman, Robert Bargatze, Ralph Baric (2015). PLoS Medicine, 12(3).


Postdoctoral Fellowship, Microbiology, University of Southern California, 1986

PhD, Microbiology, North Carolina State University, 1982

BS, Zoology, North Carolina State University, 1977

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