Craig Bierle

Assistant Professor, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases
Faculty, Department of Pediatrics


Craig J. Bierle, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and leads a research laboratory that studies how viral infection during pregnancy affects placental development and function.

Research Summary

Infection is a leading cause of pregnancy loss, premature birth, and intellectual disability in children. Viral infection of the placenta can have devastating consequences on intrauterine development, but ethical and technical barriers to studying human pregnancy have limited our understanding of how to prevent or treat these infections. The Bierle Lab draws on expertise in molecular virology, reproductive immunology, and placental biology to study the pathogenesis of cytomegalovirus and other significant causes of congenital infection. By combining cutting-edge models of trophoblast development, in vivo experimentation, and next-generation sequencing technologies, the group aims to understand how maternal infection at different times in pregnancy affects the placenta and developing offspring, using this information to develop immunomodulatory therapies or preventative vaccines.

External Research Support:

Trophoblast development and placental susceptibility to cytomegalovirus infection (NIH NICHD, R01HD109252, PI)
Microbial-induced maternal factors that influence fetal immune development (NIH NICHD, R01HD113192, Co-I)
Optimizing Immunity and Maternal Host Defense Against Congenital Cytomegalovirus Infection (NIH NICHD, R01HD098866, Co-I)
Defining the viral determinants of cytomegalovirus transplacental transmission (NIH NICHD, R21HD087496, PI)


PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Fellowships, Residencies, and Visiting Engagements

Postdoctoral Fellowships,
Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Seattle, WA; University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN
United States

Honors and Recognition

Basic Science Paper of the Year (Assistant Professor), Department of Pediatrics (2017)
Minnesota Craniofacial Research Training (MinnCResT) Fellow, University of Minnesota (2014-2016)
Congenital and Perinatal Infections Consortium Scholar (2020)
Society for Reproductive Investigation Career Development Workshop Travel Grant (2019)
International Federation of Placenta Associations Burroughs Wellcome Fund Travel Award (2023)



2873C (Campus Delivery Code)
2001 6th St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455