Hepatitis B virus (HBV) chronically infects 240 million people worldwide and accounts for more than 50% of all hepatocellular carcinomas. Novel therapeutics and improved vaccines are urgently needed, but we lack a pysiologically relevant animal model of HBV infection.

Dr Burwitz’s laboratory focuses on a new primate model
of HBV infection where the HBV receptor, human Na+
Taurocholate co-transporting polypeptide (NTCP), is
artificially expressed on rhesus macaque hepatocytes
in vivo, which allows for HBV binding and entry. Dr Burwitz’s lab have now shown that all steps of the HBV life cycle are recapitulated in rhesus macaque hepatocytes. This rhesus macaque model will facilitate future translational research on emerging HBV treatments.

Dr. Burwitz graduated from the University of
Wisconsin-Madison in 2004 with a B.S. in Molecular
Biology and Psychology, and graduated with his PhD
from the Department of Cellular and Molecular
Pathology in 2010. In 2011, he joined OHSU Vaccine
and Gene Therapy Institute as a staff scientist in the lab
of Jonah Sacha, and in 2016 was promoted to Research
Assistant Professor.