Our Science

Scott E. Hensley, Ph.D.

Scott E. Hensley, Ph.D.

  • Associate 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 – Chambers BS, Parkhouse K, Ross TB, Alby K, Hensley SE. Identification of hemagglutinin responsible for H3N2 antigenic drift during the 2014-2015 influenza season. Cell Reports. 2015 July, 12:1-6.
2 – Shaffer SM, Joshi R, Chambers BS, Sterken D, Biaesch A, Gabrieli D, Li Y, Feemster K, Hensley SE*, Issadore D*, Raj A*. Multiplexed detection of viral infections using turbo in-situ RNA analysis on a chip. Lab on a chip. 2015 June - epub ahead of print. (*co-senior authors)

3 – Linderman SL, Chambers BS, Zost SJ, Parkhouse K, Li Y, Herrmann C, Ellebedy AH, Carter DM, Andrews SF, Zheng NY, Huang M, Huang Y, Strauss D, Shaz BH, Hodinka RL, Reyes-Terán G, Ross TM, Wilson PC, Ahmed R, Bloom JD, Hensley SE. Potential antigenic explanation for atypical H1N1 infections among middle-aged adults during the 2013-2014 influenza season. PNAS. 2014 Nov 4; 111(44):15798-803.
4 – Hensley SE. Challenges of selecting seasonal influenza vaccine strains for humans with diverse pre-exposure histories. Curr Opin Virol. 2014 Aug 7; 8C:85-89.
5 – Chambers BS, Li Y, Hodinka RL, Hensley SE. Recent H3N2 Influenza Virus Clinical Isolates Rapidly Acquire Hemagglutinin or Neuraminidase Mutations When Propagated for Antigenic Analyses. J Virol. 2014 Sep 15; 88(18):10986-9.

6 –
Myers JL, Wetzel KS, Linderman SL, Li Y, Sullivan CB, Hensley SE. Compensatory hemagglutinin mutations alter antigenic properties of influenza viruses. J Virol. 2013 Oct; 87(20):11168-72.

7 – 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. J Exp Med. 2013 Jul 29; 210(8):1493-500.

– Li Y, Bostick DL, Sullivan CB, Myers JL, Griesemer SB, St. George K, Plotkin JB, Hensley SE. Single hemagglutinin mutations that alter both antigenecity and receptor binding avidity influense influenza virus antigenic clustering. J Virol. 2013 Sep: 87(17):9904-10.