Alexander T. Ciota, Ph.D.

Alexander T. Ciota, Ph.D.

Director, Arbovirus Laboratory
Associate Professor, Biomedical Sciences, School of Public Health, University at Albany
M.S., Tufts University (2001)
Ph.D., SUNY Albany (2012)

Research Interests

Dr. Ciota is the Director of the Arbovirus Laboratory, which performs surveillance, clinical testing, and research of arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses). The lab studies both mosquito and tick-borne agents including the flaviviruses West Nile virus, Zika virus, dengue virus, and Powassan virus, as well as alphaviruses, orthobunyaviruses, and thogotoviruses, among others. The unique facilities which comprise the Arbovirus lab allow for extensive experimentation in a range of natural invertebrate and vertebrate hosts. Dr. Ciota’s primary research areas include arbovirus evolution, vector-virus interactions, and the influence of climate change on virus transmission.

Specific studies include understanding arbovirus microevolution both within and among hosts and vectors, defining how specific interactions between viral and vector genomes influence transmissibility in distinct environments, defining the role of the viral replicase in viral fitness and evolution, and identifying how unique microbial signatures influence vectorial capacity. The overarching goal of these studies is to gain a better understanding of the factors that shape patterns of arbovirus transmission and ultimately to influence public health interventions in New York State and beyond.

Select Publications
Vogels CBF, Brackney DE, Dupuis AP 2nd, Robich RM, Fauver JR, Brito AF, Williams SC, Anderson JF, Lubelczyk CB, Lange RE, Prusinski MA, Kramer LD, Gangloff-Kaufmann JL, Goodman LB, Baele G, Smith RP, Armstrong PM, Ciota AT, Dellicour S, Grubaugh ND. Phylogeographic reconstruction of the emergence and spread of Powassan virus in the northeastern United States. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023; 120 (16): e221801212. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2218012120
Dupuis AP 2nd, Prusinski MA, O'Connor C, Maffei JG, Koetzner CA, Zembsch TE, Zink SD, White AL, Santoriello MP, Romano CL, Xu G, Ribbe F, Campbell SR, Rich SM, Backenson PB, Kramer LD, Ciota AT. Bourbon Virus Transmission, New York, USA. Emerg Infect Dis. 2023; 29 (1): 145-148. DOI: 10.3201/eid2901.220283
Lange RE, Dupuis Ii AP, Prusinski MA, Maffei JG, Koetzner CA, Ngo K, Backenson B, Oliver J, Vogels CBF, Grubaugh ND, Kramer LD, Ciota AT. Identification and characterization of novel lineage 1 Powassan virus strains in New York State. Emerg Microbes Infect. 2023; 12 (1): 2155585. DOI: 10.1080/22221751.2022.2155585
Caldwell HS, Pata JD, Ciota AT. The Role of the Flavivirus Replicase in Viral Diversity and Adaptation. Viruses. 2022; 14 (5): 1076. DOI: 10.3390/v14051076
Bialosuknia SM, Dupuis Ii AP, Zink SD, Koetzner CA, Maffei JG, Owen JC, Landwerlen H, Kramer LD, Ciota AT. Adaptive evolution of West Nile virus facilitated increased transmissibility and prevalence in New York State. Emerg Microbes Infect. 2022; 11 (1): 988-999. DOI: 10.1080/22221751.2022.2056521
Ciota AT. Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus Taxonomy, Genomics, and Evolution. J Med Entomol. 2022; 59 (1): 14-19. DOI: 10.1093/jme/tjab079
Onyango MG, Lange R, Bialosuknia S, Payne A, Mathias N, Kuo L, Vigneron A, Nag D, Kramer LD, Ciota AT. Zika virus and temperature modulate Elizabethkingia anophelis in Aedes albopictus. Parasit Vectors. 2021; 14 (1): 573. DOI: 10.1186/s13071-021-05069-7
Fay RL, Ngo KA, Kuo L, Willsey GG, Kramer LD, Ciota AT. Experimental Evolution of West Nile Virus at Higher Temperatures Facilitates Broad Adaptation and Increased Genetic Diversity. Viruses. 2021; 13 (10): 1889. DOI: 10.3390/v13101889
Kuo L, Jaeger AS, Banker EM, Bialosuknia SM, Mathias N, Payne AF, Kramer LD, Aliota MT, Ciota AT. Reversion to ancestral Zika virus NS1 residues increases competence of Aedes albopictus. PLoS Pathog. 2020; 16 (10): e1008951. DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1008951
Caldwell HS, Ngo K, Pata JD, Kramer LD, Ciota AT. West Nile Virus fidelity modulates the capacity for host cycling and adaptation. J Gen Virol. 2020; 101 (4): 410-419. DOI: 10.1099/jgv.0.001393
Onyango MG, Bialosuknia SM, Payne AF, Mathias N, Kuo L, Vigneron A, DeGennaro M, Ciota AT, Kramer LD. Increased temperatures reduce the vectorial capacity of Aedes mosquitoes for Zika virus. Emerg Microbes Infect. 2020; 9 (1): 67-77. DOI: 10.1080/22221751.2019.1707125
Caldwell HS, Lasek-Nesselquist E, Follano P, Kramer LD, Ciota AT. Divergent Mutational Landscapes of Consensus and Minority Genotypes of West Nile Virus Demonstrate Host and Gene-Specific Evolutionary Pressures. Genes (Basel). 2020; 11 (11): 1299. DOI: 10.3390/genes11111299
Ciota AT, Keyel AC. The Role of Temperature in Transmission of Zoonotic Arboviruses. Viruses. 2019; 11 (11): 1013. DOI: 10.3390/v11111013
Bialosuknia SM, Tan Y, Zink SD, Koetzner CA, Maffei JG, Halpin RA, Muller E, Novatny M, Shilts M, Fedorova NB, Amedeo P, Das SR, Pickett B, Kramer LD, Ciota AT. Evolutionary dynamics and molecular epidemiology of West Nile virus in New York State: 1999-2015. Virus Evol. 2019; 5 (2): vez020. DOI: 10.1093/ve/vez020
Ciota AT, Bialosuknia SM, Zink SD, Brecher M, Ehrbar DJ, Morrissette MN, Kramer LD. Effects of Zika Virus Strain and Aedes Mosquito Species on Vector Competence. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2017; 23 (7): 1110-1117.
Van Slyke GA, Arnold JJ, Lugo AJ, Griesemer SB, Moustafa IM, Kramer LD, Cameron CE, Ciota AT. Sequence-Specific Fidelity Alterations Associated with West Nile Virus Attenuation in Mosquitoes. PLoS Pathogens. 2015; 11 (6): e1005009.
Full publication listing