Vaibhav Tiwari, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Downers Grove, IL

Home / Academics / Our Faculty / Vaibhav Tiwari, Ph.D.


Dr. Tiwai earned his Ph.D. in Biotechnology from Banaras Hindu University in 2001, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship in the field of Virology at the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of Illinois at Chicago until 2008. He then became a faculty member at the Western University of Health Sciences (CA) followed by Midwestern University where he teaches virology and the infectious disease to multiple programs. Dr. Tiwari's laboratory focuses on understanding the molecular mechanism of viral entry into host cell (including SARS-CoV-2) with the goal to develop novel therapeutic interventions. In case of herpes simplex virus (HSV; which causes multiple clinical manifestations from cold sores, corneal blindness, sexually transmitted infections to deadly encephalitis), viral entry results from multivalent interactions between the virus envelope glycoproteins (gB, gD, gH-gL) and host entry receptors (nectin, herpesvirus entry mediator protein; HVEM and 3-O sulfated heparan sulfate; 3-OS HS). The more realistic goal in the lab is to develop novel inhibitors which prevents viral entry and the associated damage to the host cell. 


Associate Professor

Downers Grove, IL

College of Pharmacy
Downers Grove Campus
Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
College of Graduate Studies - IL
College of Dental Medicine-Illinois

Microbiology & Immunology

Biomedical Sciences (M.A.)
Biomedical Sciences (M.B.S.)
Osteopathic Medicine
Physical Therapy
Physician Assistant Studies

Call My


Send Me
a Message


Banaras Hindu University | 2001 | Ph.D.
Purvanchal University | 1994 | M.SC
Purvanchal University | 1992 | B.Sc.

Courses Taught

Infectious Disease & Their Etiologic Agents 
Introduction to bacteriology, bacterial metabolism, bacterial genetics
Basic Virology, & Mycology  
Control of Microorganisms
Epidemiology of the infectious Disease 
Infections of the eye, ear, nose, sinus, mouth and throat
Infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract
Infections of the central nervous system
Infections of the urogenital tract and STDs
Infections of the integument and soft tissue - Viral exanthem
Infections of the lymphoreticular system - Hepatitis viruses, HIV, EBV and CMV
Infections of the lymphoreticular system – Malaria, Rickettsia Bartonella, Borrelia

Pharmacy (Course Director) - MICRD 1622
Physician Assistant  - MICRD 0582
Chicago College of Dental Medicine - IBSSD 1521/1530/31/32/35/1540
Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (labs) - MICR 1650/1651   

Masters in Biomedical Science - MICRD 0530/0583
Fundamentals in Virology (Virus classification, structure, viral genome, etc). 
Viral clades, Viral Diagnostic; Virus life cycle; Antivirals 
Viral exanthem (Measles, Rubella, Parvovirus, HHV-6, Chicken pox; Shingles, Smallpox).
Influenza, Herpesviruses, Human immunodeficiency virus, human papilloma virus, viral hepatitis, SARS CoV-2 



Project I  

Molecular diversity of heparan sulfate (HS): A gateway for viral infections including SARS-CoV-2: Molecular diversity in the heparan sulfate (HS) chain generates extraordinary binding sites for multiple protein ligands (Tiwari et al., 2012; Glycobiology; Tiwari et al., 2015 Molecules). One such example is the sulfation at the C3 position of glucosamine residues in HS chain via 3-O sulfotransferase (3-OST) enzymes, which results a unique 3-O sulfated HS receptor for HSV entry. With the characterization of the human and zebrafish encoded 3-OST isoforms (3-OST-1,-2,-3A,-3B,-4,-5, and -6) against HSV entry, our aim is to understand the dynamic role of cell and tissue specific 3-OST enzymes in viral pathogenesis involving medically important viruses. In this direction our recent finding in collaboration with Dr. Swanson Mungerson's lab (Midwstern University) clearly indicates that SARS-CoV-2 interacts with 3-OS HS receptor (Tiwari V. et al., 2020 Drug Discov Today; Tiwari V et al., 2020 bioRxiv preprint doi: 

Project II

HSV-1 glycoprotein D (gD) interaction with 3-O sulfated HS: Implications on cell and tissue damage: Mounting evidence suggests that cell surface HS plays a critical role in major pathological events (e.g., inflammation and angiogenesis) that may promote in disease development. It has been shown that diverse groups of HS binding protein include cytokines/chemokines which interact with unique set of "saccharide sequences" in HS chain to recruit inflammatory cells; therefore, preventing those critical interactions is a novel strategy to control inflammation. In this regard our laboratory in collaboration with Dr. Michael Volin' s lab (Midwestern University) demonstrated the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines during HSV infection in iris stromal cells derived from human eye donors (Baldwin et al., 2013; Journal of Virology). Further investigations are needed to identify inflammatory markers specific to 3-OS HS receptor. 

Project III

Phage display technology derived anti-HS and anti-3-OS HS 12-mer peptides: A major tool to study structure-function of 3-OS HS: Using a random M13-phage display library screening, we have isolated unique set of 12-mer peptides that bind specifically to HS (binding receptor), 3-OS HS (fusion receptor), which blocks HSV-1 entry (Tiwari et al., 2011; Journal of Biological Chemistry). The screening identified representative candidates from two different groups of anti-HS peptides with high positive charge densities. Group I represented by G1 peptide (LRSRTKIIRIRH) belongs to a class with alternating charges and the group II, represented by G2 peptide (MPRRRRIRRRQK) shows repetitive charges (US patent application # EP20110826047). In vivo administration of anti-3-OS HS peptide as a prophylactic eye drop significantly blocked HSV-1 spread in the mouse cornea. This result highlighted an in vivo significance of HS and 3OS HS during ocular herpes infection. Our recent screening of anti-HS and anti-3-OS HS peptides have shown promising results with both cytomegalovirus infection (Mitra et al., 2021, PLOS  PATHOGENS and SARS-CoV-2 (Tiwari V et al., 2020 bioRxiv preprint doi: 

Project IV

Antiviral Drug Development: The development of novel strategies to eradicate HSV and even SARS-CoV-2 is a global public health priority. In a joint-collaborative project involving University of Kiel (Germany), University of Illinois at Chicago, we have identified a unique ability of ZnO-nanostructure bearing negatively charged nanospikes to trap HSV virions (Mishra et al., 2011, Antiviral Research; US patent application # US20140056947A1). Our future goal is to design highly selective nanoparticle (NPs) ligated with anti-HSV-1 glycoprotein peptides to develop an effective "virus-specific capturing" NPs. Similalry our current work with TiO2 in collaboration with Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana in Mexico has shown promising activity against SARS-CoV-2. 

Project V

Imaging of viral entry: Since ligand binding to heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPG) induces their aggregation and distribution along actin cytoskeleton (Clement and Tiwari, 2006 Journal of Cell Biology). Further studies are being developed to visualize the localization of 3-OS HS during viral infection and ligands-3-OS HS interactions during viral entry and inflammation.


Tiwari, V., Raghuram Koganti, Ananya Sharma, and Shukla D (2021). Cables of “TNT”: A New Age in Virus Hijacking. Frontiers in Immunology 2021 Jun 14; 12:680891. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.680891. eCollection 2021.

Tiwari, V., Tandon R., Sankaranarayanan, NV., Beer, JC., Kohlmeir, EK., Swanson-Mungerson, M., Desai UR (2021). Preferential recognition and antagonism of SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein binding to 3-O-sulfated. bioRxiv preprint doi:

Beer JC, Majmudar, H., Mishra YK., Shukla D.,Tiwari V (2021).  “Nanomaterial Bio interactions at the Cellular, Organismal and Systemic Levels – Springer Nature

Mitra ,D., Hasan, MH., Bates, J.T., Bierdeman, M.A., Ederer, D.R., Parmar, R.C., Fassero, L.A., Liang, Q., Qiu, H., Tiwari, V., Zhang, F., Linhardt, R.J., Sharp, J.S., Wang, L., Tandon R (2021). The Degree of Polymerization and Sulfation Patterns in Heparan Sulfate are Critical Determinants of Cytomegalovirus Entry into Host Cells. PLOS PATHOGENS Aug 5;17(8):e1009803 doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1009803.

Tiwari V,  Beer, J.C., Sankaranarayanan, N.V., Swanson-Mungerson, M., Desai, UR (2020). Discovering Small Molecule Therapeutics Against SARS-CoV-2. Drug Discobery Today 20;S1359-6446(20)30245-2.

Seng C, Shartiya H, TIwari V, Fornaro M (2020). Involvement of heparan sulfate during mouse cytomegalovirus infection in murine-derived immortalized neuronal cell line. Future Virology June; 15 (5).

Elste, J., Kaltenbach, D., Patel, V.R., Nguyen, M.T., Sharthiya, H., Tandon, R., Mehta, S.K., Volin, M.V., Fornaro, M., Tiwari V., Desai UR (2020). Desai. Inhibition of Human Cytomegalovirus Entry into Host Cells through A Pleiotropic Small Molecule. Int J Mol Sci. 21(5): 1676. PMCID: PMC7084493.

Majmudar H, Hao M, Sankaranarayanan NV, Zanotti B, Volin MV, Desai UR, Tiwari V (2019). A synthetic glycosaminoglycan mimetic blocks HSV-1 infection in human iris stromal cells. Antiviral Research. Jan; 161:154-162. PMID: 30481525.

Gallegos KM, Taylor CR, Rabulinski DJ, Del Toro R, Girgis DE, Jourha D, Tiwari V, Desai UR, Ramsey KH (2019). A Synthetic, Small, Sulfated Agent Is a Promising Inhibitor of Chlamydia spp. Infection in vivo. Frontiers in Microbiology. 2019 Jan 16;9:3269. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.03269. eCollection 2018. PMID: 30700982.

Kaltenbach, DD, Jaishankar, D., Hao, M., Beer, J.C., Volin, M.V., Desai U.R., Tiwari V (2018). Sulfotransferase and Heparanase: Remodeling Engines in Promoting Virus Infection and Disease Development. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 22 November 2018

Gangji, Nehru RN, Sankaranarayanan V., Elste J., Al-Horani RA., Afosah DK, Tiwari V, and Desai UR (2018).  Inhibition of Herpes Simplex Virus-1 Entry into Human Cells by Non-Saccharide Glycosaminoglycan Mimetic. ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. Jul 16;9(8):797-802. doi: 10.1021/acsmedchemlett.7b00364. eCollection 2018 Aug 9. PMID: 30128070



American Association of Virology
American Society for Microbiology                                                                                              
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology                                            
Chicago Area Virologist Association                                                                                      
Vision Science Research Community, University of Illinois at Chicago                         
The Arts in Medicine Club                                                                                        


MWU-One Health Grant 
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) cell entry
Role: Co-Principal Investigators; Dr. Swanson Mungerson, Dr. Tiwari. 

National Institute of Health NIH1R21 AI105573-01
Novel peptides against modified heparan sulfate
Role: Principal Investigator

National Institute of Health NIHR15AI088429-01A1                                                         
Structure-function analysis of Zebrafish encoded 3-OST enzyme for HSV-1 Entry
Role: Principal Investigator

Athogen/Aboott Research Resource Award 
HSV-1 detection in human stem cells
Role: Principal Investigator

Western University of Health Sciences (WUHS) Institutional grant (grant number N12587)
HSV-1 entry and spread in to host cells.
Role: Principal Investigator

Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness (ISPB).                                                        
Use of Novel Peptides to Study Viral Spread in Human Ocular Cells.
Role: Principal Investigator

0525768Z American Heart Association (AHA) Greater Midwest Postdoctoral Award                            
Structure-Function Aspects of Anticoagulation Heparan Sulfate.
Role: Principal Investigator

Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness (ISPB)                                                           
Identifying the Receptors Crucial to Herpetic Damage to the Human Corneal Fibroblasts.
Role: Principal Investigator

Midwest Eye Bank Award.                                                                                                      
Nectin-1 expression in Human Ocular Cells
Role: Co- Principal Investigator                                                            

Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness (ISPB).                                                            
Identifying the Receptors Crucial to Herpetic Damage to the Human Trabecular Meshwork.
Role: Principal Investigator

3/15/2005-6/30/2006 WKU Research Foundation 596812-05-01;
Kentucky Tobacco Research and Development Center
Anti-HSV Natural Products Characterization Project
Role: Co- Investigator



2005     American Heart Association (AHA) Postdoctoral Fellowship
2005     Illinois Society to Prevent Blindness (ISPB) Research Award 
2006     Midwest Eye Bank Research Grant Co-Investigator Award
2006     Illinois Society to Prevent Blindness (ISPB) Research Award 
2007    The Glaucoma Foundation Research Grant Co-Principal Investigator Award
2007     llinois Society to Prevent Blindness (ISPB) Reearch Award 
2008    Outstanding Research Presentation Award, Research Day, University of Illinois at Chicago
2010    Athogen/Abbott Research Resource Award  (Principal Investigator)
2010    Best Presentation Research Award during AOA Research Meeting, San Francisco, CA.
2011    NIH Research AREA Grant Award (Principal Investigator)
2014    Teacher of the Year Award - by Class of Pharmacy PSI-2013-2014, Midwestern University
2014    NIH R21 Research Grant Award (Co-Principal Investigator)
2016    Teacher of the Year Award - by Class of Pharmacy PSI-2015-2016, Midwestern University




More Information

Research lab Personnel
James Elste - Research Specialist

Current Enrolled Students in the lab for Research (2020-2021)
Alyssa Pisano – CCOM (KAS Reserach Fellow) 
Ashley Sholmire – CCOM (KAS Research Fellow)
Joo, Bo Young – CCP (Research Elective)

Research Gate & Google Scholar – Tiwari V

US Patents

US Patent # 7531338. Purification and isolation of heparan sulfate 3-O-sulfotransferase isoform-5
US Patent # 9,182,399 B2. Nanotechnology based virus-trap to prevent viral infections

Patents Pending

Application # 13/842,193 on anti-heparan sulphate peptide that blocks HSV infection in vivo
Application # 13/0177, 528 on Disintegrin peptide blocking HSV infection


Committee Assignments
Biosafety committee
Student Scholarship Committee
Research committee
University Financial Aid Committee
Midwestern Alzheimer's Advisory Committee


Garden Club (Midwestern University)
Basic Science Picnic (Midwestern University)
The Art in Medicine Club (TAMC) Midwestern University
American Red Cross
American Cancer Society
DuPage Peoples Resource Center
St. Jude Children Research Hospital
Shankar Eye Foundation
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
SOMA Auction 2019
Janine with Professor 2018
MWU Proud Campaign- 2018
Arthur G. Dobbelaere PhD Student Scholarship Fund -2018
Phi-Delta 2nd Annual Singing for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Painting Donations 2018.


Art Gallery (Oil painting) - Downers Grove library (2021)
Art Gallery (Oil painting) - Westmont public library (2021)
Art Gallery - Westmont Cruisin' Nights (2021)
Art Fund raiser - David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for saving Orphan elephants (2021)
Art Gallery - Midwestern University under TAMC (2019)
Art Auction - Saint Jude’s Cancer Research Hospital (2018)
Art Auction - CCOM scholarship (2018)