Center for Vaccine Research

Jodi Kristine Craigo, PhD

  • Director of Operations, CVR
  • Research Associate Professor
  • Microbiology & Molecular Genetics

Dr. Craigo is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. In 2007 she joined the then, newly-formed, CVR, and serves as the Director of Operations. She oversees the daily operations of the CVR which includes management of the core staff, equipment, and CVR facilities in the BST3. She is responsible for the design and daily content of the CVR social media marketing. She has been faculty in the Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine since 2006. Jodi received her Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology in 1997 from Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine & Kent State University in Rootstown, Ohio. She came to Pittsburgh in January of 1998 as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the laboratory of Dr. Ronald Montelaro. Her research interests include antimicrobial peptide development as well as utilizing SPR to answer mechanistic questions especially towards microbe pathogenesis, antibody:antigen interactions and vaccine development. Dr. Craigo additionally directs the biosensor/SPR core at the CVR that currently involves several collaborations with diverse departments and topics in the area of biomolecular interaction analysis.

Representative Publications

  • Craigo, J.K., Zhang, B., Barnes, S., Tagmyer, T., Cook, S., Issel, C., and Montelaro, R.C. (2007) Envelope Variation as a Primary Determinant of Lentiviral Vaccine Efficacy. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 104:15105-15110. | Abstract
  • Craigo JK, Ezzelarab C, Cook SJ, Chong L, Horohov D, Issel CJ, and Montelaro RC. (2015) Protective Efficacy of Centralized and Polyvalent Envelope Immunogens in an Attenuated Equine Lentivirus Vaccine. PLOS Pathogens. 11:e1004610. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004610. | Abstract
  • Deslouches B, Steckbeck JD, Craigo JK, Doi Y, Burns JL, Montelaro RC. (2015) Engineered cationic antimicrobial peptides to overcome multidrug resistance by ESKAPE pathogens. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 59(2):1329-33. | Abstract
  • Craigo JK, Ezzelarab C, Cook SJ, Chong L, Horohov D, Issel CJ, Montelaro RC. (2013) Envelope determinants of equine lentiviral vaccine protection.PLoS One.8(6):e66093. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066093. Print 2013. | Abstract
  • Craigo JK, Steckbeck JD, Barnes CO, Montelaro RC. (2011) Highly conserved structural properties of the C-terminal tail of HIV-1 gp41 protein despite substantial sequence variation among diverse clades: implications for functions in viral replication. J Biol Chem. 286:27156-27166. | Abstract
  • Craigo, J.K., Barnes, S., Zhang, B., Cook, S.J., Howe, L., Issel, C., and Montelaro, R.C. (2009) An EIAV Field Isolate Reveals Much Higher Levels of Subtype Variability Than Currently Reported for the Equine Lentivirus Family. Retrovirology 6: 95. | Abstract
  • Craigo, J.K., Durkin, S., Sturgeon, T., Tagmyer, T., Cook, S., Issel, C., and Montelaro, R.C. (2007) Immune suppression of challenged vaccinates as a rigorous assessment of sterile protection by lentiviral vaccines. Vaccine. 25:834-835. | Abstract
  • Craigo, J.K. and Gupta, P. (2006) HIV-1 in Genital Compartments: Vexing Viral Reservoirs. Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS. 1:97-102. | Abstract
  • Craigo, J.K., Li, F., Howe, L., Steckbeck, J.D., Cook, S.J., Issel, C., and Montelaro, R.C. (2005) Discerning An Effective Balance Between Equine Infectious Anemia Virus Attenuation And Vaccine Efficacy. Journal of Virology. 79: 2666-2677. | Abstract
  • Craigo, J.K., Patterson, B., Paranipe, S.G., Ding, M., Kulka, K., Montelaro, R.C., Mellors, J., and Gupta,P. (2004) Persistent HIV type 1 infection in semen and blood compartments in patients after long-term potent antiretroviral therapy.. AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses. 20:1196-1209. | Abstract

Research Interests

My research started in the characterization of lentiviral persistence and pathogenesis, conducted through evolutionary studies of both HIV and EIAV sequence analysis. Our evolutionary analysis of lentiviral populations via quasispecies sequence analysis included determinations of phenotypic differences of conserved and immunodominant regions of protein variation utilizing multiple computational avenues including: phylogenetics, divergence and selection analyses, and compartmentalization analyses (including Slatkin-Maddison, Mantel and GeneFlow computations). A major focus of our lentiviral research in the last decade was animal models of AIDS vaccines. Our lentiviral vaccine development included various modalities such as live attenuated, viral vector and virus like particle vaccines. Our vaccine research applied what we learn from pathogenesis studies into mechanisms of protection and results ultimately in the implementation of the new candidate vaccines into trials. In addition to the development of vaccine candidates, we also focused on the creation of new, rigorous virus challenge models. A major focus of my independent research focused on the detailed characterization of dynamic antigen-antibody interactions that included analyzing protective/non-protective immune system responses; specifically utilizing SPR analysis for the development of novel immune assays and characterizations of the structure:function relationship to correlates of protection. Most recently my research has shifted focus, to:

1) the development of antimicrobial peptides against drug-resistant bacteria and utilizing SPR to dissect peptide-membrane interactions and evaluate mechanisms of efficacy; and,

(2) the development of high specificity, high-throughput, time-resolving peptoid-based diagnostics for Zika Virus infection.