Daniel J. Bonthius, MD, PhD

Faculty Member, Interdisciplinary Program in Molecular Biology
Faculty Member, Medical Scientist Training Program
Faculty Affiliate, Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program
Professor of Pediatrics - Neurology
Professor of Neurology

Contact Information

Primary Office
1320 BT
200 Hawkins Drive
Iowa City, IA 52242


BS, Zoology, The University of Iowa
MD, The University of Iowa
PhD, Neuroscience, The University of Iowa
Postdoctoral Fellow, Combined Postdoctoral Fellowship in Neuroscience and Residency in Pediatrics, University of Virginia
Resident, Pediatric Neurology, University of Iowa

Licensure and Certifications

Diplomate, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Certified in Neurology with Special Qualification in Child Neurology
Diplomate, American Board of Pediatrics
Federal Licensing Examination (FLEX) Parts I and II

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Molecular Medicine, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Translational Biomedicine, Medical Scientist Training Program

Research Summary

This laboratory investigates the biological mechanisms underlying neurologic birth defects. We are specifically interested in the brain injuries induced by lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) and by alcohol (fetal alcohol syndrome). In our studies of congenital LCMV infection, we utilize a rat model of the infection to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the virus-induced neuropathology. We are investigating the immune cell types and the cytokines involved in virus-induced neuronal death. In the developing brain, LCMV specifically infects certain neuronal populations and leaves others completely uninfected. We are studying the mechanisms by which LCMV spreads through the brain and are attempting to identify the metabolic and molecular characteristics of neurons that render them vulnerable to infection. Following infection with LCMV, both humans and the rats in our model system develop epilepsy. We are investigating the pathophysiology underlying this virus-induced epileptic condition. In our studies of fetal alcohol syndrome, we utilize animal models of the syndrome to study the mechanisms of alcohol-induced brain injury and the anatomical, histological and behavioral consequences of alcohol exposure. We have recently developed a mouse model of fetal alcohol syndrome, in which we utilize knock-out mice to study the importance of specific genes in influencing the pathological and behavioral effects of alcohol exposure.