Adam P. Geballe, MD
Department of Medicine, Division of Allergy & Infectious Diseases
Adjunct Professor
Department of Microbiology
Member, Divisions of Human Biology & Clinical Research, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Research Affiliate, UW Center for Human Development & Disability
Sites of Practice: 
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
University of Washington Medical Center

Faculty Information


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infections are very common and result in life-threatening diseases in newborns and immunocompromised patients. As well, HCMV provides a valuable model system for studies of regulation of eukaryotic gene expression at the translational level. After infection by many viruses, including HCMV, cells continue to synthesize proteins despite activation of host cell responses designed to shut off translation and thereby prevent viral replication. Studies in the Geballe lab have identified genes in HCMV and related viruses that are capable of blocking antiviral responses, especially those activated by double-stranded RNA. The proteins encoded by the HCMV genes act in part through an unconventional double-stranded RNA binding domain. As well, they self-associate and bind to the critical cellular kinase PKR and to other host and viral factors. Efforts are now underway to determine the origin of the activators of PKR produced during HCMV infection and to elucidate the mechanisms by which the viral genes block the antiviral responses. New experiments are underway to clarify how cytomegalovirus antagonists evolved and have contributed to the rapid adaptation of PKR during primate evolution.

Another line of research aims to identify the genes and mechanisms by which poxviruses evade PKR and related host dsRNA-activated anti-viral pathways. These studies should reveal new insights into the host-virus interactions that are likely to be key determinants of the pathogenesis of viral infections and may have implications for the design of viral vaccines and vectors.

Education & Training: 
Duke University
Durham NC
Resident in Internal Medicine
University of Chicago
Chicago IL
Fellowship in Infectious Diseases
University of California
San Francisco CA
Associate Investigator in Infectious Diseases
Veterans Administration
San Francisco CA
Phi Beta Kappa
Alpha Omega Alpha
Outstanding Mentor Award for UW Undergraduate Research
McDougall Mentoring Award
(206) 667-5122
Mailing Address: 

Fred Hutchinson CRC
PO Box 19024
1100 Fairview Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

Research & Clinical Interests
Research Interests: 
  • Viral host cellular conflicts
  • Translational control of gene expression


Clinical Interests: 
  • Infectious disease in immunocompromised host

Brennan, G, J.O. Kitzman, S. Rothenburg, J. Shendure and A.P. Geballe. Adaptive gene amplification as an intermediate step in expansion of virus host range. PLoS Pathogens. 2014; 10(3):e1004002.
• PubMed Abstract

Bierle, C.J., K.M. Semmens, and A.P. Geballe.  2013. Double-stranded RNA binding by the human cytomegalovirus PKR antagonist TRS1. Virology. 2013 Jul 20; 442(1):28-37
• PubMed Abstract

Child, SJ, Brennan G, Braggin JE, Geballe AP.  Species specificity of protein kinase R antagonism by cytomegalovirus TRS1 genes. J Virol. 2012; 86(22):3880-9.
• NCBI Abstract

Elde, NC, Child SJ , Eickbush MT, Kitzman JO, Rogers KS, Shendure J, Geballe AP, Malik HS. Poxviruses deploy genomic accordions to adapt rapidly against antiviral defenses. Cell. 2012; 150(4):831-41.
• PubMed Abstract

Boeckh, M, Geballe AP. Cytomegalovirus: pathogen, paradigm and puzzle. J Clin Invest. 2011; 121(5):1673-80. 
 PubMed Abstract

Elde NC, Child SJ, Geballe AP, Malik HS. Protein kinase R reveals an evolutionary model for defeating viral mimicry. Nature. 2009; 457(7228):485-9. 
 PubMed Abstract