Photo of Mark K. Slifka, Ph.D.

Mark K. Slifka Ph.D.

  • (503) 346-5483
    • Professor Oregon National Primate Research Center
    • Molecular Microbiology and Immunology Graduate Program School of Medicine
    • Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences School of Medicine


In their search for new and more effective vaccines, OHSU scientists are still unraveling the intricacies of those operations of the immune system that protect us from microbial infection. By understanding the mechanisms involved with improving T cell and B cell responses to foreign antigens, we will be able to develop more effective vaccines against viruses and other microbial pathogens.




Mark Slifka, Ph.D. and his colleagues are investigating the underlying mechanisms of humoral and cell-mediated immunity against acute and chronic viral infections. This work has included developing several models of viral infection and/or vaccination in order to address basic immunological questions related to the development and maintenance of long-term protective immunity.  This is collectively referred to as “immunological memory”. Dr. Slifka’s group has also developed a series of clinical studies in which they analyze immunological memory directly in human subjects. During the course of this work, they study a number of viruses including arenaviruses (lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, LCMV), alphaviruses (chikungunya virus, Eastern-, Western-, and Venezualen equine encephalitis viruses), orthopoxviruses (vaccinia, cowpox, monkeypox, smallpox) and flaviviruses (West Nile virus, yellow fever, dengue and zika).




The combination of basic research in animal models and applied research in clinical studies involving both healthy and immunocompromised populations has provided the opportunity to better define the requirements for immunological memory and to learn how to develop more effective diagnostics and vaccine candidates.




These experiments lay the foundation for future studies in which Slifka and his team plan to develop new vaccines and determine the mechanisms involved with building strong vaccine-induced immunity. They have discovered a new hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-based approach to vaccine development that results in safer, more effective human and animal vaccines. Dr. Slifka and his colleagues recently launched a first-in-man H2O2-based West Nile virus vaccine clinical trial.  Details of the Phase I clinical trial describing HydroVax-001 West Nile virus can be found at ( Identifier: NCT02337868).


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Areas of interest

  • Immunological memory
  • Vaccines
  • Memory B cells & plasma cells
  • Memory T cells
  • Cytokines


  • Ph.D., UCLA School of Medicine 1996

Honors and awards

  • AAAS • Robert I. Larus Award (1991)
  • AAAS • Geraldine K. Lindsay Award (1991)
  • AAAS • Outstanding Presentation in the Biological Sciences (1991)
  • Association of Research Professors Award (1992)
  • The Scripps Society of Fellows Award (1997)
  • ICAAC Young Investigator Award (1998)
  • OHSU Commercialization Award (2004)
  • OHSU Commercialization Award (2005)
  • OHSU Technology Innovation Award; Top 10 Industry Collaborations (2009)
  • CHAVI Visiting Professor at Duke University Medical Center (2010)
  • Visiting Professor at the Mayo Clinic (2012)
  • Vaccine, Council of 100 (2013)
  • Fellow of the International Society for Vaccines (2014)

Memberships and associations

  • Journal of Virology, Editorial Board 2005-Present
  • Journal of Immunology, Editorial Board 2006-Present
  • Virology, Editorial Board 2007-Present
  • Vaccine, Editorial Board 2013-Present
  • npg Vaccines, Editorial Board 2016-Present
  • Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, Editorial Board 2016-Present


Selected publications

  • Slifka MK, Leung DY, Hammarlund E, Raué HP, Simpson EL, Tofte S, Baig-Lewis S, David G, Lynn H, Woolson R, Hata T, Milgrom H, Hanifin J (2014). Transcutaneous yellow fever vaccination of subjects with or without atopic dermatitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2014. 133(2):439-47. PMID: 24331381. PMCID: PMC3960337.

  • Slifka MK, Amanna I (2014).  How advances in immunology provide insight into improving vaccine efficacy. Vaccine. May 23;32(25):2948-57. PMID: 24709587. PMCID: PMC4096845.

  • Hammarlund E, Thomas A, Poore EA, Amanna IJ, Rynko AE, Mori M, Chen Z, Slifka MK (2016). Durability of vaccine-induced immunity against tetanus and diphtheria toxins: A cross-sectional analysis. Clin Infect Dis. May 1;62(9):1111-8. PMID: 27060790.

  • Amanna IJ, Slifka MK (2016). Questions regarding the safety and duration of immunity following live yellow fever vaccination. Expert Rev Vaccines. 2016 Dec;15(12):1519-1533. Epub 2016 Jun 20. PMCID:  PMC5171234.

  • Poore EA, Slifka DK, Raué HP, Thomas A, Hammarlund E, Quintel BK, Torrey LL, Slifka AM, Richner JM, Dubois ME, Johnson LP, Diamond MS, Slifka MK, Amanna IJ (2017).  Pre-clinical development of a hydrogen peroxide-inactivated West Nile virus vaccine. Vaccine. 2017 Jan 5;35(2):283-292. PMID: 27919629. PMCID: PMC5191926.


  • "Long-lived plasma cells" Current Opinion in Immunology June 1998
  • "Cytokine-mediated activation of NK cells during viral infection" Journal of Virology  2015
  • "Bone marrow is a major site of long-term antibody production after acute viral infection" Journal of Virology  1995
  • "Protective immunity following vaccination" Human Vaccines July 2008
  • "Current trends in West Nile virus vaccine development" Expert Review of Vaccines  2014
  • "Long-term antibody production is sustained by antibody-secreting cells in the bone marrow following acute viral infection" Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences  1996
  • "Death via gp120" Trends in Microbiology  1998
  • "Serologic evidence for novel poxvirus in endangered red colobus monkeys, Western Uganda" Emerging Infectious Diseases May 2008
  • "B cell longevity and immunological memory [2] (multiple letters)" Trends in Microbiology  1997
  • "Humoral immunity due to long-lived plasma cells" Immunity March 1998
  • "Vaccine-mediated immunity against dengue and the potential for long-term protection against disease" Frontiers in Immunology  2014
  • "Monkeypox without exanthem [24]" New England Journal of Medicine May 17 2007
  • "Wanted, dead or alive" Antiviral Research November 2009
  • "Activated and memory CD8+ T cells can be distinguished by their cytokine profiles and phenotypic markers" Journal of Immunology January 1 2000
  • "B cell responses and immune memory." Developments in Biological Standardization  1998
  • "Cowpox Virus Inhibits the Transporter Associated with Antigen Processing to Evade T Cell Recognition" Cell Host and Microbe November 19 2009
  • "Erratum" Journal of Virology  1997
  • "Retrospective analysis of monkeypox infection" Emerging Infectious Diseases April 2008
  • "Impact of infection or vaccination on pre-existing serological memory" Human Immunology November 2012
  • "Cytokine-Mediated Programmed Proliferation of Virus-Specific CD8+ Memory T Cells" Immunity January 24 2013
  • "Antibody-mediated protection against respiratory viral infection" Seminars in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine December 2005
  • "Quantifying viable virus-specific T cells without a priori knowledge of fine epitope specificity" Nature Medicine October 2006
  • "The staphylococcal Trojan Horse" Trends in Microbiology May 1 2000
  • "Traditional smallpox vaccination with reduced risk of inadvertent contact spread by administration of povidone iodine ointment" Vaccine January 17 2008
  • "Editorial" Journal of Leukocyte Biology June 1 2013
  • "Targeting dendritic cells" Trends in Microbiology  2001
  • "Long-Lived Plasma Cells Are Contained within the CD19-CD38hiCD138+ Subset in Human Bone Marrow" Immunity July 21 2015
  • "Protease inhibitors strike a blow to KS progression" Trends in Microbiology May 1 2002
  • "CD8+ T cell immunodominance shifts during the early stages of acute LCMV infection independently from functional avidity maturation" Virology August 1 2009
  • "Contributions of humoral and cellular immunity to vaccine-induced protection in humans" Virology March 15 2011

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