Dr. Linda Saif

Distinguished University Professor

Food Animal Health Research Program
OARDC Wooster, OH 44691
Phone: 330-263-3744
Fax: 330-263-3677
Email: saif.2@osu.edu


Biographical Information

  • BA, 1969, The College of Wooster, Wooster, OH
  • MS, 1971, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • PhD, 1976, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH


Dr. Linda Saif is a Distinguished University Professor at The Ohio State University (OSU) in the Food Animal Health Research Program (OARDC) and the Veterinary Preventive Medicine Department (CVM, OSU). She is a virologist and immunologist, whose research focuses on comparative aspects of enteric and respiratory viral infections (coronaviruses, rotaviruses and caliciviruses) of food animals and humans. Her lab studies mucosal immunity and vaccine development and is currently focusing on the impact of malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies on vaccines and interactions of probiotics and the gut microbiota with the neonatal immune system, vaccines and viral pathogenesis. Her team’s discovery of the gut-mammary secretory IgA axis (initial description of a common mucosal immune system) in swine was a breakthrough for development of maternal coronavirus vaccines to passively protect neonatal animals. Her lab identified new enteric viruses (group C rotavirus, caliciviruses), characterized their pathogenesis and developed novel cultivation methods, diagnostic assays and vaccines for them. Her current research emphasizes attenuated and novel bioengineered virus-like particle (VLP) vaccines and adjuvants (vitamin A, probiotics) to prevent viral diarrheas in humans and animals and their evaluation in germfree animal disease models. Her lab also investigates the interrelationships among animal viruses, especially coronaviruses, and their human counterparts to assess their zoonotic potential, mechanisms of interspecies transmission and potential vaccines.

Dr. Saif is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (2003) and the Argentine Academia Nacional de Agronomía y Veterinaria (2009). She is an elected Fellow of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists (1990), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1995) and the American Academy of Microbiology (2004). She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Ghent, Belgium (2003). In 2015, she became the first woman to receive the Wolf Prize in Agriculture. She has served as a member of advisory teams for various US and international organizations (USAID, CDC, WHO, etc), she was a Fulbright Scholar (Argentina) and she serves on several journal editorial boards (Proc Nat Acad Sci, Ann Rev Animal Biosciences). Her laboratory serves as a WHO International Reference Lab for Animal Coronaviruses within the SARS Coronavirus Network and as an International Reference Lab for TGEV porcine coronavirus for the Office International des Epizooties, Paris, France. Dr. Saif has authored or coauthored over 325 journal publications and 61 book chapters pertaining to her research. A detailed list of her publications is available on request.


  • 1965-69 The College of Wooster, Honors Scholarship & Honors in Biology
  • 1976 Elected to Phi Kappa Phi, National Honor Society; Phi Zeta, Veterinary Medicine Honor Society
  • 1987 Invited Distinguished Visiting Professor, Univ. of Guelph, College of Veterinary Medicine, Canada
  • 1989 Beecham Laboratories Award for Research Excellence, College of Veterinary Medicine, OSU
  • 1990 The American College of Veterinary Microbiologists, Elected Honorary Diplomate
  • 1992 Distinguished Senior Scientist Research Award, OARDC, OSU
  • 1992 Fulbright Scholar, Inst. of Virology, INTA, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 1995 University Distinguished Scholar Award, OSU
  • 1995 Fellow, American Assoc for the Advancement of Science
  • 1995 Slected Distinguished Veterinary Immunologist, American Assoc Veterinary Immunologists
  • 2002 Selected as Distinguished University Professor, The Ohio State University
  • 2003 Honorary Doctorate, University of Ghent, Belgium
  • 2003 Elected Member, US National Academy of Sciences
  • 2004 Elected Member, US Academy of Microbiology
  • 2004 Chosen AARP One of 10 Impact People of the Year for 2004, AARP Magazine
  • 2006 Lifelong Achievement Serving Agriculture and Improving Health in Communities Throughout the World, Ohio Farm Bureau.
  • 2007 Awarded Distinguished Alumni Award, The College of Wooster, Wooster, OH
  • 2008 Inductee, Hall of Excellence from the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges, OH
  • 2009 Elected to membership, Argentine Academia Nacional de Agronomia y Veterinaria (Argentine National Academy of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine)
  • 2009 Elected Chair, Section 61- Animal, Nutritional, and Applied Microbial Sciences of the National Academy of Science, Washington, DC, 2010-2012.
  • 2009 Invited Visiting Professor, University of Bari, Bari, Italy, April 17-24, 2009.
  • 2009 Recipient, Zu Kezhen Distinguished Lectureship for 2009 to deliver lectures at Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, October 12-23, 2009.

Research Area

As a virologist and immunologist, my research focuses on comparative aspects, including the zoonotic potential, of enteric and respiratory viruses (coronaviruses, rotaviruses and caliciviruses) of food animals and humans. A related focus is mucosal immunity to these viruses and vaccine development. Our laboratory discovered the gut-mammary immunologic axis, a new concept leading to recognition of a common mucosal immune system in animals and humans. We exploited this concept to design vaccination approaches to prevent enteric viral infections of neonates. We continue to elucidate the immunologic interrelationships, T and B cell memory responses and maternal antibody impact among distinct mucosal tissues to devise new vaccine strategies for neonates. A current emphasis is on bioengineering of rotavirus-like-particle vaccines with immunomodulators to prevent rotavirus diarrhea, a leading cause of morbidity in young animals and mortality in infants. Our lab discovered, characterized and developed novel cultivation methods and diagnostic assays for new fastidious enteric viruses including group C rotavirus, a bovine torovirus and porcine and bovine enteric caliciviruses. Using our recently developed infectious viral clones, we are pursuing the genetic basis for in vitro replication and in vivo virulence of enteric caliciviruses. This research should unlock new avenues of investigation for uncultivable human caliciviruses, leading causes of food-borne illness worldwide. Besides comparative pathogenesis studies of animal and human enteric viruses in gnotobiotic animals, we are also investigating their antigenic and genetic relationships to assess their zoonotic potential and mechanisms for interspecies transmission and disease exacerbation.



Childhood Malnutrition and Enteric Infections
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
November 1, 20014 – April 30, 2016

Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) pigs as a model for human norovirus.
UDSA-NIFA Food Virology Collaborative
2014 – 2015

Norovirus therapeutics that target norovirus 3CL protease.
2013 – 2018

Gut microflora: Effects on neonatal immunity, viral gastroenteritis & vaccines.
June 1, 2012 – May 30, 2017

Selected Publications


  1. Kandasamy S, Chattha KS, Vlasova AN, Rajashekara G, Saif LJ. (2014) Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria enhance mucosal B cell responses and differentially modulate systemic antibody responses to an oral human rotavirus vaccine in a neonatal gnotobiotic pig disease model.Gut Microbes. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25483333
  2. Marion JW, Lee C, Lee CS, Wang Q, Lemeshow S, Buckley TJ, Saif LJ, Lee J. (2014) Integrating bacterial and viral water quality assessment to predict swimming-associated illness at a freshwater beach: a cohort study. PLoS One. 9(11):e112029. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112029.
    PMID: 25409012
  3. Gebreyes WA, Dupouy-Camet J, Newport MJ, Oliveira CJB, Schlesinger LS, et al. (2014) The Global One Health Paradigm: Challenges and Opportunities for Tackling Infectious Diseases at the Human, Animal, and Environment Interface in Low-Resource Settings. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 8(11): e3257. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003257
  4. Chattha KS, Roth JA, Saif LJ. (2014) Strategies for Design and Application of Enteric Viral Vaccines. Annu Rev Anim Biosci. 2014 Oct 6. [Epub ahead of print]
    PMID: 25387111
  5. Vlasova AN, Marthaler D, Wang Q, Culhane MR, Rossow KD, Rovira A, Collins J, Saif LJ. (2014) Distinct characteristics and complex evolution of PEDV strains, North America, May 2013-February 2014. Emerg Infect Dis. 20(10):1620-8. doi: 10.3201/eid2010.140491. PMID: 25279722
  6. Oka T, Saif LJ, Marthaler D, Esseili MA, Meulia T, Lin CM, Vlasova AN, Jung K, Zhang Y, Wang Q. (2014) Cell culture isolation and sequence analysis of genetically diverse US porcine epidemic diarrhea virus strains including a novel strain with a large deletion in the spike gene. Vet Microbiol. 173(3-4):258-69. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2014.08.012.
  7. Jung K, Wang Q, Scheuer KA, Lu Z, Zhang Y, Saif LJ. (2014) Pathology of US porcine epidemic diarrhea virus strain PC21A in gnotobiotic pigs. Emerg Infect Dis. 20(4):662-5. PMID: 24795932
  8. Oka T, Saif LJ, Yang Z, Scheuer KA, Stoltzfus GT, Wang Q. (2014) First Complete Genome Sequences of Genogroup VI Porcine Sapoviruses. Genome Announc. 2(2). pii: e00275-14. doi: 10.1128/genomeA.00275-14. PMID: 24699963
  9. Kumar A, Vlasova AN, Liu Z, Chattha KS, Kandasamy S, Esseili M, Zhang X, Rajashekara G, Saif LJ. (2014) In vivo gut transcriptome responses to Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Lactobacillus acidophilus in neonatal gnotobiotic piglets. Gut Microbes. 5(2):152-64. doi: 10.4161/gmic.27877. PMID: 24637605
  10. Kandasamy S, Chattha KS, Vlasova AN, Saif LJ. (2014) Prenatal vitamin A deficiency impairs adaptive immune responses to pentavalent rotavirus vaccine (RotaTeq®) in a neonatal gnotobiotic pig model. Vaccine. 32(7):816-24. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.12.039. PMID: 24380684
  11. Lee CS, Lee C, Marion J, Wang Q, Saif L, Lee J.(2014) Occurrence of human enteric viruses at freshwater beaches during swimming season and its link to water inflow. Sci Total Environ. 472:757-66. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.11.088. PMID: 24333998
  12. Amimo JO, Okoth E, Junga JO, Ogara WO, Njahira MN, Wang Q, Vlasova AN, Saif LJ, Djikeng A. (2014) Molecular detection and genetic characterization of kobuviruses and astroviruses in asymptomatic local pigs in East Africa. Arch Virol. 159(6):1313-9. doi: 10.1007/s00705-013-1942-x. PMID: 24327095
  13. Jung K, Scheuer KA, Zhang Z, Wang Q, Saif LJ. (2014) Pathogenesis of GIII.2 bovine norovirus, CV186-OH/00/US strain in gnotobiotic calves. Vet Microbiol. 168(1):202-7. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2013.11.008. PMID: 24309403
  14. Takanashi S, Saif LJ, Hughes JH, Meulia T, Jung K, Scheuer KA, Wang Q. (2014) Failure of propagation of human norovirus in intestinal epithelial cells with microvilli grown in three-dimensional cultures. Arch Virol. 159(2):257-66. doi: 10.1007/s00705-013-1806-4. PMID: 23974469
  15. Thomas C, Jung K, Han MG, Hoet A, Scheuer K, Wang Q, Saif LJ. (2014) Retrospective serosurveillance of bovine norovirus (GIII.2) and nebovirus in cattle from selected feedlots and a veal calf farm in 1999 to 2001 in the United States. Arch Virol. 159(1):83-90. doi: 10.1007/s00705-013-1795-3. PMID: 23884635


  1. Ashraf, S., Tang, Y., and Saif, Y. M. 2007. Development of differential RT-PCR assays and molecular characterization of the complete VP1 gene of five strains of very virulent infectious bursal disease virus. Avian Dis. 51:935-41.
  2. Baker, D., Moxley, R., LeJeune, J. T., Steele, M., Christopher-Hennings, J., Chen, ., Hardwidge, P., and Francis, D. 2007. Virulence variation among Escherichia coli O157:H7 strains isolated from human disease outbreaks and healthy cattle Appl Environ Microbial 73:7338-46.
  3. Bowman, A., C. Glendening, T. Wittum, J. LeJeune, R. Stich and J. Funk. 2007. Prevalence of Yersinia enterocolitica in different phases of production on swine farms. J. Food Prot. 70:11-16.