Craig Bierle

Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics


Faculty Member, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases


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


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

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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.


Research Summary

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)

Honors and Recognition

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