Eric Bortz, Ph.D.

Dr. Eric Bortz
Associate Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
(907) 786-4858


  • Post Doctoral, Virus-Host Interactions, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, 2010
  • Ph.D., Molecular Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA (UCLA), 2006
  • B.A., Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburg, PA, 1994

Teaching Responsibilities

  • BIOL A490/690- Immunology
  • BIOL A499- Senior Thesis
  • BIOL A699- Thesis

Research Interests

Despite significant advances in biomedicine, emerging viruses threaten human and animal health and economic growth, often with severe impact in regions of inadequate public health infrastructure. Highly pathogenic avian influenza A (HPAI) viruses of the H5N1 subtype can cross the species barrier from birds into humans, causing severe pulmonary disease characterized by pneumonia and high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines (“cytokine storm”). My research is focused on interactions of the HPAI viral polymerase complex (PB1, PB2, and PA) with a network of human proteins. We are using functional genomics (RNA interference, network biology, proteomics, and next-generation sequencing technologies) to understand mechanisms by which host RNA binding proteins, including DEAD-box RNA helicase DDX17, regulate syntheses of viral RNA in human cells. RNA binding proteins also appear to control generation of immunostimulatory viral RNA pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) that in turn activate innate immune induction of type I interferons (IFN-?/?) and pro-inflammatory cytokines in influenza, HIV, and other human infections.


Brunsman, E.M., R. Sutton, E. Bortz, S. Kirkpatrick, K. Midelfort, J. Williams, P. Smith, M.E. McHenry, S.A. Majetich, J.O. Artman, M. DeGraef, S.W. Staley. 1994. Magnetic properties of carbon-coated, ferromagnetic nanoparticles produced by a carbon-arc method. J. Applied Physics 75: 5882-84.

Kim, J., E. Bortz, H. Zhong, T. Leeuw, E. Leberer, A.K. Vershon, J.P. Hirsch. 2000. Localization and signaling of G? subunit and Ste4p is controlled by a-factor receptor and the a-specific protein Asg7p. Mol. Cell. Biology 20: 8826-35. [PMC86527]

Symensma, T.L., D. Martinez-Guzman, Q. Jia, E. Bortz, T.T. Wu, N. Rudra-Ganguly, S. Cole, H. Herschman, R. Sun. 2003. COX-2 induction during murine gammaherpesvirus 68 infection leads to enhancement of viral gene expression. J. Virology 77(23): 12753-63. [PMC262602]

Bortz, E., J.P. Whitelegge, Q. Jia, Z.H. Zhou, T.T. Wu, R. Sun. 2003. Identification of proteins associated with murine gammaherpesvirus-68 virions. J. Virology 77(24): 13425-32. [PMC296060]

Jia, Q., V. Chernishof, E. Bortz, I. Mchardy, T.T. Wu, H.I. Liao, R. Sun. 2005. Murine gammaherpesvirus 68 open reading frame 45 plays an essential role during the immediate-early phase of viral replication. J. Virology 79(8): 5219-41. [PMC1069521]

Bortz, E., L. Wang, Q. Jia, T.T. Wu, J.P. Whitelegge, H. Deng, Z.H. Zhou, R. Sun. 2007. Murine ?-herpesvirus-68 ORF52 encodes a tegument protein required for virion morphogenesis in the cytoplasm. J. Virology 81(18): 10137-50. [PMC2045416]

Dai, W., Q. Jia, E. Bortz, S. Shah, J. Liu, I. Atanasov, X. Li, K.A. Taylor, R. Sun R, Z.H. Zhou. Unique structures in a tumor herpesvirus revealed by cryo-electron tomography and microscopy. 2008. J. Structural Biol. 161(3): 428-38. [PMC2714863]

Bortz, E., L. Westera, J. Maamary, J. Steel, R.A. Albrecht, B. Manicassamy, G. Chase, L. Martínez-Sobrido, M. Schwemmle, A. Garcia-Sastre. 2011. Host- and Strain-Specific Regulation of Influenza Virus Polymerase Activity by Interacting Cellular Proteins. mBio 2(4):e00151-1. [PMC3157893]

Bortz, E. and A. Garcia-Sastre. 2011. Predicting the pathogenesis of influenza from genomic response: a step toward early diagnosis. Genome Medicine 3(10):67. [PMC3239229]

Wang,, L., H. Guo, N. Reyes, S. Lee, E. Bortz, F. Guo, R. Sun, L. Tong, H. Deng. 2012. Distinct Domains in ORF52 Tegument Protein Mediate Essential Functions in Murine Gammaherpesvirus 68 Virion Tegumentation and Secondary Envelopment. J. Virology 86(3):1348-57. [PMC3264335]

Career History/Work Experience

  • Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alaska Anchorage
  • IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE)
  • Center for Research on Influenza Pathogenesis (CRIP)