Contact, publication, and social network information about Harvard faculty and fellows. Harvard Catalyst Profiles
Last Name

John Misasi, M.D.

TitleInstructor in Pediatrics
InstitutionChildren's Hospital Boston
AddressChildrens Hospital
Ender's 7
300 Longwood Ave
Boston MA 02115
vCardDownload vCard (login for email)

 awards and honors
2006 - 2008Sanofi-Pasteur Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society Fellowship Award
2008 - 2008Maxwell Finland Award for Excellence in Research
2008 - 2009K12-Children’s Health Research Center Scholar

Research Overview

Dr. Misasi's research is focused on the entry mechanisms of the hemorrhagic fever viruses belonging to the Filoviridae and Arenaviridae families. Ebola and Lassa are two members of these virus families and cause hemorrhagic fever in Africa. Ebola causes sporadic outbreaks of severe infection in central Africa; Lassa occurs in West Africa, infecting >100,000 people and killing up to 5000 people annually.

Ebola and Lassa are both enveloped negative strand RNA viruses. Each virus expresses a protein, GP, on the surface of its envelope. This protein, GP, is required for the virus to enter and infect the cell. The interactions between GP and host cells that allow these viruses to enter a cell are the focus Dr. Misasi’s research. Previous research has demonstrated that the digestion of Ebola GP by the proteases Cathepsin B and Cathepsin L is required for Ebola entry. Dr. Misasi’s demonstrated that there are other cysteine proteases that are likely to contribute to Ebola virus entry and that there is a species dependent difference in cysteine protease usage among the different species of Ebola viruses. In addition to this work, Dr. Misasi identified novel inhibitors of Ebola virus entry using a small molecule library screen. He used these inhibitors to identify Niemann-Pick disease, type C 1 (NPC1) protein as the ebolavirus receptor and found that the inhibitor disrupts binding of cathepsin cleaved ebolavirus GP with NPC1.

The pathogenesis of many viruses is related to their envelope proteins. Dr. Misasi’s is currently focused on investigating the interactions between NPC1 and GP that lead to virus/cell membrane fusion and the mechanism by which his inhibitors block NPC1 binding to cleaved ebola GP. Dr. Misasi’s long term goal is to use chemical biology to identify host factors for hemorrhagic fever viruses and to investigate the interactions between these host factors and viral proteins in the hemorrhagic fever syndrome.

About John Misasi
John Misasi received his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University. He later attended SUNY-Upstate Medical University for Medical School. He completed his internship and residency in Pediatrics at New York University. After completing his residency training, he trained at Children's Hospital Boston in Infectious Diseases. He currently performs his research in the laboratory of Dr. James Cunningham of the Department of Virology at Harvard Medical School. He is a co-author of the “Marburg and Ebola viruses” chapter in the Clinical Decision Support-Infectious disease website.

 research resources
This researcher has shared information about their research resources
in the eagle-i Network. To update or add resource records, contact
Misasi Lab - Mouse strains (2)

 selected publications
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
List All   |   Timeline
  1. John Misasi and Nancy Sullivan. Camouflage and Misdirection: The Full-On Assault of Ebola Virus Disease. Cell (in press). 2014.
  2. Misasi J, Sullivan NJ. Camouflage and misdirection: the full-on assault of ebola virus disease. Cell. 2014 Oct 23; 159(3):477-86.
    View in: PubMed
  3. Misasi JN, Nakamura MM. Infectious diseases evidence assessments: evidence-based medicine in practice. Med Educ. 2013 Nov; 47(11):1123-4.
    View in: PubMed
  4. Silverman MA, Misasi J, Smole S, Feldman HA, Cohen AB, Santagata S, McManus M, Ahmed AA. Eastern equine encephalitis in children, Massachusetts and New Hampshire,USA, 1970-2010. Emerg Infect Dis. 2013 Feb; 19(2):194-201; quiz 352.
    View in: PubMed
  5. Lee K, Ren T, Côté M, Gholamreza B, Misasi J, Bruchez A, Cunningham J. Inhibition of Ebola Virus Infection: Identification of Niemann-Pick C1 as the Target by Optimization of a Chemical Probe. ACS Med Chem Lett. 2013 Feb 14; 4(2):239-243.
    View in: PubMed
  6. Misasi J, Chandran K, Yang JY, Considine B, Filone CM, Côté M, Sullivan N, Fabozzi G, Hensley L, Cunningham J. Filoviruses require endosomal cysteine proteases for entry but exhibit distinct protease preferences. J Virol. 2012 Mar; 86(6):3284-92.
    View in: PubMed
  7. Côté M, Misasi J, Ren T, Bruchez A, Lee K, Filone CM, Hensley L, Li Q, Ory D, Chandran K, Cunningham J. Small molecule inhibitors reveal Niemann-Pick C1 is essential for Ebola virus infection. Nature. 2011 Sep 15; 477(7364):344-8.
    View in: PubMed
  8. Radoshitzky SR, Warfield KL, Chi X, Dong L, Kota K, Bradfute SB, Gearhart JD, Retterer C, Kranzusch PJ, Misasi JN, Hogenbirk MA, Wahl-Jensen V, Volchkov VE, Cunningham JM, Jahrling PB, Aman MJ, Bavari S, Farzan M, Kuhn JH. Ebolavirus delta-peptide immunoadhesins inhibit marburgvirus and ebolavirus cell entry. J Virol. 2011 Sep; 85(17):8502-13.
    View in: PubMed
  9. Sullivan JM, Pietras KM, Shin BJ, Misasi JN. Hammerhead ribozymes designed to cleave all human rod opsin mRNAs which cause autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa. Mol Vis. 2002 Apr 8; 8:102-13.
    View in: PubMed
  10. Hatch A, Sano T, Misasi J, Smith CL. Rolling circle amplification of DNA immobilized on solid surfaces and its application to multiplex mutation detection. Genet Anal. 1999 Apr; 15(2):35-40.
    View in: PubMed
Local representatives can answer questions about the Profiles website or help with editing a profile or issues with profile data. For assistance with this profile: HMS/HSDM faculty should contact Human Resources at
Misasi's Networks
Click the "See All" links for more information and interactive visualizations!
Similar People
Same Department
Physical Neighbors