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Charles R. Wira, PhD

Emeritus Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Microbiology and Immunology

Dartmouth College, PHD 1970
Delaware Valley College, BS 1962
Michigan State University, MS 1966

Program in Experimental and Molecular Medicine

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Contact Information

Dartmouth Medical School
One Medical Center Drive, HB 7700
Lebanon NH 03756

Office: Borwell 708 West
Phone: 603 650-7733
Fax: 603 650-6130
Email: Charles.R.Wira@Dartmouth.EDU

Professional Interests

Dr. Wira's research focuses on how female sex hormones influence immunity in the female reproductive tract using animal models and human tissues. Dr. Wira has been funded by NIH for the past 35 yrs, has published approximately 160 research papers, and serves as editor on several scientific journals. He has received numerous awards including a National Institutes of Health Merit Award, which is awarded to approximately 0.1% of scientists by NIH. He is also the recipient of the Distinguished Investigator Award in Reproductive Immunology by the American Society of reproductive Immunology (ASRI). As Principal Investigator of an NIH funded Program Project grants for the past 14 years, he heads a major collaborative effort at Dartmouth Medical School to characterize immune functions in the Fallopian tube, uterus, cervix and vagina and to define the roles of sex hormones in mucosal immune regulation.

Dr. Wira is actively involved in a Dartmouth Medical School Fogarty Grant that is working with colleagues at Dartmouth and the University of Muhimbili in Tanzania to bring scientists to Dartmouth for training in HIV-related Mucosal Immunology. He also sits on the board of directors of an NGO at the University of Nairobi, Kenya that focuses on improving women's health against a spectrum of diseases including AIDS. He is the past Secretary to American Society of Reproductive Immunology, has served as Councilor for ASRI from 1998-2006. Dr. Wira is presently the Secretary General of ISIR and the President Elect of ASRI (2008-2009). Most recently, he has received a 5-year NIH grant to understand the role that human FRT immune cells play in protection against the heterosexual transmission of HIV-1. The goal in this study is to test the hypothesis that immune cells, specifically the epithelial cells which line mucosa of the female reproductive tract, from White-American, African-American, and Tanzanian women exhibit intracellular and secreted antiviral activity that protects against heterosexual transmission of HIV-1. These studies will be carried out in the USA and with colleagues in Muhimbili College of Health Sciences (MUCHS) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. While there have been recent advances in our understanding of how innate immunity protects women, very few studies have been performed to define the mechanisms of FRT immunity that exist in African women and the extent to which innate immune function is compromised in HIV-1-infected women.

His research is at the interface of the endocrine and immune systems should increase the presently limited knowledge of immune protection in women and should provide basic information essential for prevention and control of cancers in the reproductive tract, of local infection in the genital mucosa, for management of sexually transmitted diseases including the heterosexual transmission of HIV-1 and for autoimmune diseases. Further, these studies relate to endogenous protective immunity and to the development and evaluation of candidate vaccines and microbicides and the role of mucosal immunity in natural and vaccine induced protection against HIV and tuberculosis.

Grant Information

Ongoing Research Support

1 P01 AI/NS 51877 Wira (PI) 09/30/02 - 07/31/08
NIH/NIAID (currently in 1-year no-cost extension)
Sex Hormone Regulation of Innate Immunity in Women and Men - PROGRAM PROJECT
The overall objective of this Program Project is to define the role of sex hormones (androgens, estrogens and progestins) in regulating the innate immune system, as it functions systemically and at mucosal surfaces.
Role: PI

R01 AI 13541 Wira (PI) 04/01/07 - 03/31/12
Sex Hormone Regulation of the Mucosal Immune System
The overall objective of this research proposal is to define the role of sex hormones, cytokines and chemokines in the regulation of the innate and adaptive immune systems in the female reproductive tract.
Role: PI

R01 AI071761 08/01/07 - 07/31/12
Innate immune protection against HIV-1 by reproductive tract epithelial cells
The overall objective of this research is to understand the role that human female reproductive tract (FRT) epithelial cells play in innate immune protection against HIV-1. As sentinels of innate immune defense, epithelial cells throughout the reproductive tract are the first line of protection against sexually transmitted infections and are crucial for orchestrating a rapid response to potential viral pathogens. Our goal in this proposal is to test the hypothesis that epithelial cells from White-American, African-American, and Tanzanian women exhibit intracellular and secreted antiviral activity that protects the reproductive tract against HIV-1.
Role: PI

Courses Taught

Lecturer: Immunotherapy (Graduate studies)
Lecturer: Advanced Endocrinology (Graduate studies)
Lecturer: Medical Physiology
Lecturer: Medical Immunology
Course Director: Advanced Immunology: Mucosal Immunology (Graduate studies)


Dr. Wira received his B.S. in 1962 in Animal Husbandry from Delaware Valley College, Doylestown, PA and his M.S. in Physiology from Michigan State University in 1966. Dr. Wira came to Dartmouth in 1966 where he received his Ph.D. in 1970. From 1970 to 1972 he did his postdoctoral training at the University of Paris, France, studying molecular mechanism of estrogen action in the uterus. He returned to Dartmouth as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology and was promoted to Professor in 1985.

Selected Publications


Aging dysregulates neutrophil extracellular trap formation in response to HIV in blood and genital tissues.
Moreno de Lara L, Werner A, Borchers A, Carrillo-Salinas FJ, Marmol W, Parthasarathy S, Iyer V, Vogell A, Illanes D, Abadia-Molina AC, Ochsenbauer C, Wira CR, Rodriguez-Garcia M
Front Immunol. 2023;14:1256182. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2023.1256182. Epub 2023 Nov 15.
PMID: 38035114

Aging modifies endometrial dendritic cell function and unconventional double negative T cells in the human genital mucosa.
Parthasarathy S, Shen Z, Carrillo-Salinas FJ, Iyer V, Vogell A, Illanes D, Wira CR, Rodriguez-Garcia M
Immun Ageing. 2023 Jul 14;20(1):34. doi: 10.1186/s12979-023-00360-w. Epub 2023 Jul 14.
PMID: 37452337

Aging beyond menopause selectively decreases CD8+ T cell numbers but enhances cytotoxic activity in the human endometrium.
Shen Z, Patel MV, Rodriguez-Garcia M, Wira CR
Immun Ageing. 2022 Nov 12;19(1):55. doi: 10.1186/s12979-022-00312-w. Epub 2022 Nov 12.
PMID: 36371240

Post-partum female who woke up with hemiparesis.
Wira CR 3rd, Marcolini E, Bulsara KR
J Am Coll Emerg Physicians Open. 2022 Oct;3(5):e12807. doi: 10.1002/emp2.12807. Epub 2022 Sep 5.
PMID: 36090003

Medroxyprogesterone acetate inhibits wound closure of human endometrial epithelial cells and stromal fibroblasts in vitro.
Patel MV, Rodriguez-Garcia M, Shen Z, Wira CR
Sci Rep. 2021 Dec 1;11(1):23246. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-02681-6. Epub 2021 Dec 1.
PMID: 34853394

Sex Hormones and Aging Modulate Interferon Lambda 1 Production and Signaling by Human Uterine Epithelial Cells and Fibroblasts.
Patel MV, Hopkins DC, Barr FD, Wira CR
Front Immunol. 2021;12:718380. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.718380. Epub 2021 Sep 24.
PMID: 34630393

Endometrial Cancer Suppresses CD8+ T Cell-Mediated Cytotoxicity in Postmenopausal Women.
Patel MV, Shen Z, Rodriguez-Garcia M, Usherwood EJ, Tafe LJ, Wira CR
Front Immunol. 2021;12:657326. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.657326. Epub 2021 Apr 23.
PMID: 33968059

The impact of aging on innate and adaptive immunity in the human female genital tract.
Rodriguez-Garcia M, Patel MV, Shen Z, Wira CR
Aging Cell. 2021 May;20(5):e13361. doi: 10.1111/acel.13361. Epub 2021 May 5.
PMID: 33951269

Differential Cytotoxic Function of Resident and Non-resident CD8+ T Cells in the Human Female Reproductive Tract Before and After Menopause.
Rodriguez-Garcia M, Shen Z, Fortier JM, Wira CR
Front Immunol. 2020;11:1096. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.01096. Epub 2020 Jun 4.
PMID: 32582183

Epithelial Cells and Fibroblasts from the Human Female Reproductive Tract Accumulate and Release TFV and TAF to Sustain Inhibition of HIV Infection of CD4+ T cells.
Shen Z, Rodriguez-Garcia M, Patel MV, Bodwell J, Wira CR
Sci Rep. 2019 Feb 12;9(1):1864. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-38205-y. Epub 2019 Feb 12.
PMID: 30755713

View more publications on PubMed