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Sam Basta PhD
 Sam Basta
Contact Info
613-533-6000 x36648 E-Mail:

Faculty Bio

  • BSc,  Biochemistry. Scotland, UK. 
  • MSc,  Immunology. England, UK.
  • PhD,  Viral Immunology. Switzerland.
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow ( Viral Immunology section) NIH, USA.
  • Post-Doctoral Scientist  (Immunology Program), University of Constance, Germany.

Research Interests

Our research interests focus on understanding how professional antigen presenting cells can orchestrate innate and adaptive immune responses during virus infection or tumour growth. 

  • We welcome applications from competitive grad students who have interest and or background in biochemical immunology, viral immunology or tumour immunology.


Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) gene products play a key role in both acquired and innate immunity. MHC class I molecules are the restriction elements for TCD8+, whereas MHC class II are the elements recognized by CD4+ helper T cells (TCD4+). For class I molecules the peptides may be directly presented by the infected cell or cross-presented by antigen presenting cells that acquire antigen from infected cells. Given that MHC class I molecules are expressed on all nucleated cells, effector TCD8+ can respond against intracellular pathogens by production of antiviral cytokines such as IFNg and TNFa or cytolysis of infected cells. In the case of obligate intracellular pathogens (such as viruses) that depend on host cell machinery to propagate, lysis of infected cell can be a crucial step in preventing viral replication.

To this end our research interests are oriented towards understanding how professional APCs can orchestrate innate and adaptive immune responses in vivo during virus infection. Moreover, we aspire to better define the outcome of viral immune escape mechanisms on the host immune system.

Students interested in Immunology with good background in Virology, Biochemistry, and/or Cell Biology are encouraged to apply.

Selected Publications:

On taking the STING out of immune activation. Banete A, Seaver K, Gee K and *Basta S. *Corresponding author. Journal of Leukocyte Biology. 2017. Invited review.

M(IL-4) tissue macrophages support efficient interferon-gamma production in antigen-specific CD8+ T cells with reduced proliferative capacity. Mulder, R Banete A, Seaver K, and *Basta S. *Corresponding author. Frontiers in Immunology. 2017, In Press (Funded by NSERC).

Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus Infection of Dendritic Cells interferes with TLR-induced IL-12/IL-23 Expression. Che Mat, N*, Siddiqui S*, Mehta D, Alothaimeen T, Gee K#, and Basta S#.  #Co-corresponding authors.*Contributed equally. Cytokine. 2017. under revision (Funded by CIHR).

 IL-27 enhances LPS-induced IL-1beta in human monocytes and murine macrophages.  Petes C, Wynick C, Mehta D, Guzzo C, Logan S, Basta S, Cooper A and Gee K. Journal of Leukocyte Biology.  2017. 102(1):83-94. 

“Editorial: Decoding the macrophage phagosomal environment: the hunt for key reductases is on”.  Banete A, and *Basta S. *Corresponding author. Journal of Leukocyte Biology. 2016 Jul;100(1):3. (Funded by NSERC & CIHR).

Immortalized murine macrophage cell line as a model for macrophage polarization into classically activated (m1) or alternatively activated (m2) macrophages. Banete A, Achita P, Harding K, Mulder R, and *Basta S. *Corresponding author. Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology. 2015. 6:318. doi: 10.4172/2155-9899.1000318 

The Role of Virus Infection in Deregulating the Cytokine Response to Secondary Bacterial Infection. Mehta D, Petes C, Gee K and *Basta S. *Corresponding author. J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2015. 35(12):925-34. Review 

Spleen-derived macrophages are readily polarized into classically activated (M1) or alternatively activated (M2) states. Mulder R, Banete A and Basta S.  Immunobiology. 2014 

TLR2 subunit agonists are superior inducers of pro-inflammatory mediators than inactivated Mycobacterium butyricum. Gambhir V, Yildiz C, Siddiqui S, Guzzo C, Mulder R, Szewczuk M, Gee K and *Basta S. Cellular Immunology. 2012. 280:101-7. 

Interleukin-27 induces TLR4 expression on human monocytes via a STAT3 and NF-kB dependent pathway. Guzzo, C., Ayer A, Banfield B, Basta S, and Gee K. J Immunol. 2012. 15;188(2):864-73.

CD8+ T Cell Immunodominance To Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus is Modified in the Presence of Toll-Like Receptor Agonists. Siddiqui S and Basta S. J. Virol. 2011;85(24):13224-33.

Influence of 1,25(OH)2D3 on TLR-induced activation of antigen presenting cells is dependent on the order of receptor engagement. Gambhir V, Kim J, Siddiqui S, Jones G and Basta S. Immunobiology. 2011 216:988-96.


TLR engagement prior to virus infection influences MHC-I antigen presentation in an epitope-dependent manner as a result of nitric oxide release. Siddiqui S, Alatery A, Kus A, Basta S. J. Leukoc. Biol. 2011  .89:457-68


The role of antigen presentation by esophageal epithelial cells in eosinophilic esophagitis. Mulder DJ, Pooni A, Mak N, David J. Hurlbut DJ, Basta S, and Justinich C. American Journal of Pathology. 2011. 178:744-53.


IL-7 engages multiple mechanisms to overcome chronic viral infection and limit organ pathology. Pellegrini M, Calzascia T, Elford A, Shahinian A, Lang P, Morre M, Tedder T, Sparwasser T, Nussenzweig M, Basta S., Ohashi P and Mak T. Cell. 18:601-13 2011.


Delivery of exogenous antigens and the induction of cytotoxic T Lymphocyte responses. kim J, Ganbhir V, Alatery A, and Basta, S.  J. Biomed. Biotechnol.2010:218752. 2010. Invited Review for the special issue on "Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes and Vaccine Development"


The outcome of cross-priming during virus infection is not directly linked to the ability of the antigen to be cross-presented. Alatery A, Tarrab E, Lamarre A, andBasta, S. Eur J Immunol. 2010. 40(8):2190-9. 2010.


Cross but not direct presentation of cell-associated virus antigens by spleen macrophages is influenced by their differentiation state. Alatery A, Siddiqui S, Chan M, Kus A, Petrof E, and Basta, S. Immunol & Cell Biology. 2010. 88:3-12.


Altered Immunodominance hierarchies of CD8+ T cells in the spleen after infection at different sites is contingent on high virus inoculum. Siddiqui, S, Tarrab E, Lamarre A, and Basta, S. Microbes & Infection. 2010. 12:324-30.


Coencapsulation of adjuvants and antigen into the same biodegradable microspheres enables the generation of potent cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses. Schlosser E, Fischer S, Basta S, Busch D, Gander B, and Groettrup M. Vaccine. 2008. 26:1626-37.


Cross-priming of a single viral protein from lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus alters immunodominance hierarchies of CD8+ T cells during subsequent viral infections. Dunbar E, Alatery A and Basta S. Viral Immunology. 2007. 20:585-98.


The cross-priming pathway: A portrait of an intricate immune system. Basta S and Alatery A. Scandinavian Journal of Immunology. 2007. 65:311–319.  Review.


Reversal in the Immunodominance Hierarchy in Secondary CD8+ T Cell Responses to Influenza A Virus: Roles for Cross-Presentation and Lysis-Independent Immunodomination. Chen W, Pang K, Masterman K, Kennedy G, Basta S, Dimopoulos N, Hornung F, Smyth M, Bennink JR, and Yewdell. JW. J. Immunol.2004. 173:5021-5027.


CD8+ T cell cross-priming via transfer of proteasome substrates. *Norbury CC, *Basta S, Donohue KB, Tscharke DC, Princiotta MF, Berglund P, Gibbs J, Bennink JR, & Yewdell JW. Science. 2004. 304:1318-21. *Primary authorship.


Cross-priming of CD8+ T cells by viral and tumor antigens is a robust phenomenon. Chen W, Masterman K, Basta S, Haeryfar SM, Dimopoulos N, Knowles B, Bennink JR and Yewdell JW. Eur. J. Immunol. 2004. 34:194–199.


A survival game of hide and seek: Cytomegaloviruses and MHC class I Antigen Presentation Pathways. Basta S, and Bennink JR. Viral Immunology. 2003. 16:231-242. REVIEW.


Heat-Aggregated Noninfectious Influenza Virus Induces a More Balanced CD8(+)-T-Lymphocyte Immunodominance Hierarchy Than Infectious Virus. Cho Y,Basta S, Chen W, Bennink JR, Yewdell JW. J. Virol. 2003. 77:4679-84.


Inhibitory effects of cytomegalovirus proteins US2 and US11 point to contributions from direct priming and cross-priming in induction of vaccinia virus-specific CD8(+) T cells. Basta S, Chen W, Bennink JR, Yewdell JW. J Immunol. 2002.


A novel influenza A virus mitochondrial protein that iduces cell death. Chen W, Calvo PA, Malide D, Gibbs J, Schubert U, Bacik I, Basta S, O'Neill R, Schickli J, Palese P, Henklein P, Bennink JR, Yewdell JW. Nat. Med. 2001. 7:1306-12. 

Modulation of monocytic cell activity and virus susceptibility during differentiation into macrophages. Basta S, Knoetig SM, Spagnuolo-Weaver M, Allan G, McCullough KC. J. Immunol. 1999. 162:3961-9.


Basta, Sam Lab

  1. Kyle Seaver . PhDz
  2. Torki Al-Othaimeen. PhD
  3. Andra Banete. PhD
  4. Michelle Meringer. BSc
  5. Evan Trus. BSc