Gail Williams Wertz, B.S., M.A., Ph.D.

Gail Williams Wertz B.S., M.A., Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Pathology


Molecular Mechanisms of Replication of RNA Viruses.


Dr. Wertz has been a university professor engaged in basic biomedical research for her entire career, starting at UNC Medical School and most recently at UVA Medical School, where she was elected Professor Emerita in 2014. Her expertise is the molecular mechanisms of replication of RNA viruses and her laboratory developed the methodology for genetic engineering and attenuation of negative strand RNA viruses. This work provided a platform for developing novel vaccines against major human pathogens and was used most recently in developing a successful vaccine against Ebola.


A current list of publications can be found on PubMed. A partial, selected Bibliography (out of 155 total peer-reviewed publications) follows:

Green,T.J., X. Zhang, G.W. Wertz and M. Luo. 2006. Structure of the Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Nucleoprotein-RNA Complex. Science 313 (5785):357-360.

Oomens, A.G., Bevis, K., and G.W. Wertz. 2006. The Cytoplasmic Tail of the Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus F Protein Plays a Critical Role in Cellular Localization of the F Protein and Infectious Progeny Production. J. Virol. 80:10465-10477.

Sastre, P. A.G.Oomens and G.W. Wertz. 2007. The stability of Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus is enhanced by incorporation of the baculovirus GP64 Protein. Vaccine 25: 5025-5033.

Barr, J.N., X. Tang, E. Hinzman, R. Shen and G.W. Wertz. 2008. The VSV polymerase can initiate at mRNA start sites located either up or downstream of a transcription termination signal but size of the intervening intergenic region affects efficiency of initiation. Virology 374:361-360.

Batonick, M. A. Oomens and G.W. Wertz. 2008. Human respiratory syncytial virus glycoproteins are not required for apical targeting or polarized release of virus. J. Virol. 82: 8664-8672.

Hinzman, E., J.N. Barr and G.W. Wertz. 2008. Selection for gene junction sequences important for VSV transcription. Virology 380:379-387.

Galloway, S., P.E. Richardson and G.W. Wertz. 2008. Analysis of a structural homology model of the 2′-O-ribose methyltransferase domain within the vesicular stomatitis virus protein. Virology. 382:69-82.

Galloway, S. and G.W. Wertz. 2008. S-adenosyl homocysteine-induced hyper-polyadenylation of VSV mRNA requires the methyltransferase activity of the L protein. J. Virology 82:12280- 12290.

Galloway, S. and G.W. Wertz. 2009. A temperature sensitive VSV identifies L protein residues involved in transcription but not replication. Virology 388:286-293.

Harouaka, D. and G. W. Wertz. 2009. Mutations in the C-termianl Loop of the Nucleocapsid Protein Affect VSV RNA Replication and Transcription Differentially. J. Virol. 83:11429- 11439.

Rainsford, E.W., D. Harouaka and G. W. Wertz. 2010. Importance of Hydrogen Bond Contacts between the N Protein and RNA Genome of vesicular stomatitis virus in encapsidation and RNA Synthesis. J. Virol. 84:1741-1751.

Brown, J. C., W.W. Newcomb and G.W. Wertz. 2010. Helical Virus Structure: The Case of the Rhabdovirus Bullet. Viruses 2010, 2: 995-1001.

Wertz, G.W., S.E. Galloway and D. Harouaka. 2011. What Controls the Distinct VSV RNA Synthetic Processes of Replication and Transcription. In “Negative Strand RNA Viruses” Ch. 4, Pp 63-78. Ming Luo (Ed.) World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore.

Batonick, M. and G.W. Wertz. 2011. Requirements for human respiratory syncytial virus glycoproteins in assembly and egress from infected cells. Advances in Virology. 2011, pii: 343408.

Harouaka, D. and G.W. Wertz. 2012. Second–Site Mutations Selected in Transcriptional Regulatory Sequences Compensate for Engineered Mutations in the Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Nucleocapsid Protein. J. Virology 86:11266-11275.

Mondal, A., Victor, K., Pudapakam, S., Lyons, C. and G. W. Wertz. 2014. Newly Identified Phosphorylation Site In the Vesicular Stomatitis Virus P Protein is Required for Viral RNA Synthesis. J. Virol. 88(3):1461-72. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02384-13.