Seema S. Lakdawala, PhD



PhD in Biological Sciences, University of California San Diego (Salk Institute)

BS in Natural Sciences, University of Texas - Austin

Research Summary

The Lakdawala lab studies emerging respiratory virus pandemic threats using influenza viruses as a model system. Specifically we are interested in  person-to-person transmission of respiratory viruses and the diversity constraints of viruses in natural hosts. Dr. Lakdawala started an independent laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2015 studying influenza virus transmission, pathogenesis, and assembly. The Lakdawala Lab has published multiple papers on the persistence of influenza viruses in aerosols and droplets and demonstrated that viruses are stable for long periods of time in small aerosols and droplets in the presence of respiratory mucus. Their research has been featured in the popular press on NPR, Gizmodo, and This Week in Virology. In addition, Dr. Lakdawala and her team recently demonstrated that pre-existing immunity provides a robust barrier to airborne transmission of influenza viruses that likely impacts the spread of seasonal viruses. Dr. Lakdawala recently co-authored two pieces in Science on animal models to study SARS-CoV-2 transmission and a review on airborne transmission of respiratory viruses. She is a world leader on airborne transmission of respiratory viruses and has been interviewed extensively on this topic in NY Times, Washington Post, Science, USA Today, CNN, and BBC to name a few.

Areas of Interest



Wang CC, Prather KA, Sznitman J, Jimenez JL, Lakdawala SS, Tufekci Z and Marr LC. 2021. Airborne transmission of respiratory viruses. Science. 373(6558). pii: 373/6558/eabd9149. doi: 10.1126/science.abd9149. |  View Abstract

Le Sage V, Jones JE, Kormuth KA, Fitzsimmons WJ, Nturibi E, Padovani GH, Arevalo CP, French AJ, Avery AJ, Manivanh R, McGrady EE, Bhagwat AR, Lauring AS, Hensley SE and Lakdawala SS. 2021. Pre-existing heterosubtypic immunity provides a barrier to airborne transmission of influenza viruses. PLoS Pathog. 17: e1009273. |  View Abstract

Le Sage V, Kanarek JP, Snyder DJ, Cooper VS, Lakdawala SS and Lee N. 2020. Mapping of Influenza Virus RNA-RNA Interactions Reveals a Flexible Network. Cell Rep. 31: 107823. V. Le Sage, J. P. Kanarek, D. J. Snyder, V. S. Cooper, S. S. Lakdawala and N. Lee |  View Abstract

Lakdawala SS and Menachery VD. 2020. The search for a COVID-19 animal model. Science. 368: 942-43. |  View Abstract

Bhagwat AR, Le Sage V, Nturibi E, Kulej K, Jones J, Guo M, Tae Kim E, Garcia BA, Weitzman MD, Shroff H and Lakdawala SS. 2020. Quantitative live cell imaging reveals influenza virus manipulation of Rab11A transport through reduced dynein association. Nat Commun. 11: 23. |  View Abstract