Craig Bierle, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics

Craig Bierle

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-624-3226

Lab Phone 612-626-6060

Office Address:
Pediatric Infectious Disease
3-210 MTRF
2001 6th Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

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

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

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

BS, Cornell University


Craig J. Bierle, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology. Dr. Bierle received his doctorate in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. He heads a research laboratory that studies viral infections of pregnancy, which are the leading preventable cause of neurologic disabilities in children.

Awards & Recognition

  • Basic Science Paper of the Year (Assistant Professor), Department of Pediatrics (2018)
  • Minnesota Craniofacial Research Training (MinnCResT) Fellow, University of Minnesota (2014)


Research Summary/Interests

Infection is a leading cause of pregnancy loss, premature birth, and intellectual disability. Certain viruses, including cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Zika virus, can be transmitted across the placenta, infect the fetus, and disrupt normal development. Ethical and technical barriers to studying disease during human pregnancy have limited progress towards an understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie in utero infection.

Research in the Bierle lab utilizes guinea pig CMV as a model for congenital CMV disease in humans. Similarities in placentation and gestation between guinea pigs and humans make the rodent a valuable experimental model for the study of infections during pregnancy. The group aims to use emerging technologies including CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing and next generation sequencing to study viral infection at the maternal-fetal interface and identify targets for vaccines or therapeutics that could prevent or mitigate damage from congenital CMV disease.

External Research Support:

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health (R21HD087496


  1. Anderholm KM, Bierle CJ, Schleiss MR. 2016. Cytomegalovirus Vaccines: Current Status and Future Prospects. Drugs 76:1625-1645.
  2. Boldenow E, Gendrin C, Ngo L, Bierle C, Vornhagen J, Coleman M, Merillat S, Armistead B, Whidbey C, Alishetti V, Santana-Ufret V, Ogle J, Gough M, Srinouanprachanh S, MacDonald JW, Bammler TK, Bansal A, Liggitt HD, Rajagopal L, Adams Waldorf KM. 2016. Group B Streptococcus Circumvents Neutrophils and Neutrophil Extracellular Traps During Amniotic Cavity Invasion and Preterm Labor. Science Immunology. 2016 Oct 14. 1(4). DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aah4576.
  3. McVoy MA, Wang JB, Dittmer DP, Bierle CJ, Swanson EC, Fernandez-Alarcon C, Hernandez-Alvarado N, Zabeli JC, Schleiss MR. 2016. Repair of a Mutation Disrupting the Guinea Pig Cytomegalovirus Pentameric Complex Acquired during Fibroblast Passage Restores Pathogenesis in Immune-Suppressed Guinea Pigs and in the Context of Congenital Infection. J Virol 90:7715-7727.
  4. Bierle CJ, Anderholm KM, Wang JB, McVoy MA, Schleiss MR. 2016. Targeted Mutagenesis of Guinea Pig Cytomegalovirus Using CRISPR/Cas9-Mediated Gene Editing. J Virol 90:6989-6998.
  5. Schleiss MR, Bierle CJ, Swanson EC, McVoy MA, Wang JB, Al-Mahdi Z, Geballe AP. 2015. Vaccination with a Live Attenuated Cytomegalovirus Devoid of a Protein Kinase R Inhibitory Gene Results in Reduced Maternal Viremia and Improved Pregnancy Outcome in a Guinea Pig Congenital Infection Model. J Virol 89:9727-9738. 6. McAdams RM, Bierle CJ, Boldenow E, Weed S, Tsai J, Beyer RP, MacDonald JW, Bammler TK, Liggitt HD, Farin FM, Vanderhoeven J, Rajagopal L, Adams Waldorf KM. 2015. Choriodecidual Group B Streptococcal Infection Induces miR-155-5p in the Fetal Lung in Macaca nemestrina. Infect Immun 83:3909-3917.
  6. Vanderhoeven JP, Bierle CJ, Kapur RP, McAdams RM, Beyer RP, Bammler TK, Farin FM, Bansal A, Spencer M, Deng M, Gravett MG, Rubens CE, Rajagopal L, Adams Waldorf KM. 2014. Group B Streptococcal Infection of the Choriodecidua Induces Dysfunction of the Cytokeratin Network in Amniotic Epithelium: A Pathway to Membrane Weakening. PLoS Pathog 10:e1003920.
  7. Bierle CJ, Semmens KM, Geballe AP. 2013. Double-stranded RNA binding by the human cytomegalovirus PKR antagonist TRS1. Virology 442:28-37.
  8. Bierle CJ, Schleiss MR, Geballe AP. 2012. Antagonism of the protein kinase R pathway by the guinea pig cytomegalovirus US22-family gene gp145. Virology 433:157-166.
  9. Marshall EE, Bierle CJ, Brune W, Geballe AP. 2009. Essential role for either TRS1 or IRS1 in human cytomegalovirus replication. J Virol 83:4112-4120.