Cami Hippee

Microbiology Graduate ProgramCami Hippee image

Lab: Patrick Sinn, PhD

Year Entered Into Program: 2019


Research Statement

The question that drives my research is “how is measles virus so contagious?”. Measles virus is the most contagious human virus, but it is not clear what unique properties of this virus make it highly transmissible compared to other viruses. We study measles virus infection in primary human airway epithelia, where measles virus forms “infectious centers”. Infectious centers are defined as a group of infected cells in which the plasma membranes remain intact and nuclei remain separate, differentiating them from syncytia. Around 10 days post-infection, infectious centers detach from the epithelial layer as a unit. The cells of detached infectious centers are viable and contain high viral titers. We hypothesize that detached infectious centers contribute to measles virus’ high transmission potential by protecting the virus from environmental conditions, allowing it to live longer on surfaces.



B.A. in Biology, Vassar College (2013-2017)



Ostedgaard LS, Price MP, Whitworth KM, Abou Alaiwa MH, Fischer AJ, Warrier A, Samuel M, Spate LD, Allen PD, Hilkin BM, Romano Ibarra GS, Ortiz Bezara ME, Goodell BJ, Mather SE, Powers LS, Stroik MR, Gansemer ND, Hippee CE, Zarei K, Goeken JA, Businga TR, Hoffman EA, Meyerholz DK, Prather RS, Stoltz DA, Welsh MJ. 2020. Lack of airway submucosal glands impairs respiratory host defenses. Elife 9. PMCID: PMC7541087 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.59653


Cooney, A. L., Singh, B. K., Loza, L. M., Thornell, I. M., Hippee, C. E., Powers, L. S., Ostedgaard, L. S., Meyerholz, D. K., Wohlford-Lenane, C., Stoltz, D. A., McCray, Jr, P. & Sinn, P. L. (2018). Widespread airway distribution and short-term phenotypic correction of cystic fibrosis pigs following aerosol delivery of piggyBac/adenovirus. Nucleic acids research 46 (18) 9591-9600. PMID: 30165523. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gky773.



Best Basic Research Poster – Pediatric Research Day, 2019

2021-2024 Training in Molecular Virology, Viral Pathogenesis and Viral Vectors T32 Training Grant


Select Presentations

American Society for Virology poster presentation “Measles virus exits primary human airway epithelial sheets by infectious center sloughing” – 2019

Measles Virus Mini Symposium at Mayo Clinic oral presentation “Measles virus exits primary human airway epithelial sheets by infectious center sloughing” – 2019

All Iowa Virology Symposium oral presentation “Measles virus exits primary human airway epithelia sheets by infectious center sloughing” – 2019