Our Science

Scott E. Hensley, Ph.D.

Scott E. Hensley, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor
  • Member, Vaccine Center
  • 215-495-6864, Office
  • 215-495-6866, Lab

The goal of the laboratory of Scott Hensley is to combat seasonal influenza, which contributes to many annual deaths across the world. The Hensley laboratory uses basic virology and immunology techniques to understand how seasonal influenza eludes our immune system, making an annual influenza vaccine necessary. Hensley and his colleagues at The Wistar Institute Vaccine Center are also in pursuit of a “universal vaccine” for seasonal influenza, a single vaccine that will enable people to forgo an annual flu shot.

Hensley came to Wistar as an assistant professor in 2010 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health. Hensley studied biology as an undergraduate at the University of Delaware and went on to earn a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Pennsylvania in 2006. In 2007, he began a postdoctoral fellowship at NIAID and subsequently distinguished himself in immunology circles for his work on antigenic drift, the evolutionary changes in the outer coating of the influenza virus that allows the flu to change from year to year.

Since returning to Wistar, Hensley has continued studying the molecular mechanisms that allow antigenic drift to occur and is determining how the human immune system generates antibodies to influenza. Hensley hopes to combine these two paths in order to create a vaccine that will generate antibodies that will attack targets that are less likely to mutate from season to season, which may make annual flu shots a thing of the past.

Selected Publications
1 – Myers JL, Wetzel KS, Linderman SL, Li Y, Sullivan CD, Hensley SE. Compensatory hemagglutinin mutations alter antigenic properties of influenza viruses. Journal of Virology 2013 Epub ahead of print.
2 – Li Y, Myers JL, Bostick DL, Sullivan CB, Madara J, Linderman SL, Liu Q, Carter DM, Wrammert J, Esposito S, Principi N, Plotkin JB, Ross TM, Ahmed R, Wilson PC, Hensley SE. Immune history shapes specificity of pandemic H1N1 influenza antibody responses. Journal of Experimental Medicine. 2013; 210(8):1493-1500.

3 –
Li Y, Bostick DL, Sullivan CB, Myers JL, Griesemer SB, St George K, Plotkin JB, Hensley SE. Single hemagglutinin mutations that alter both antigenicity and receptor binding avidity influence influenza virus antigenic clustering. Journal of Virology. 2013; 87(17):9904-9910.

4 – Das SR,
Hensley SE., Ince WL, Brooke CB, Subba A, Delboy MG, Russ G, Gibbs JS, Bennink JR, Yewdell JW  Defining influenza A virus hemagglutinin antigenic drift by sequential monoclonal antibody selection. Cell Host and Microbe. 2013; 13(3):314-323.