Matthew Aliota, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Matt Aliota


Office Address

235C Animal Science Veterinary Medicine Building
1988 Fitch Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55108
United States


Associate Professor, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Preceptor, Medical Scientist Training Program (Combined MD/PhD Training Program)
Preceptor, Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology (MICaB) Ph.D. Graduate Program


PhD, University of Wisconsin- Madison

BS, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Academic Interests

Arbovirus virology
Vector biology
Animal model development
Emerging infectious diseases
Host-pathogen interactions

Expand all



  • Arbovirus virology
  • Vector biology
  • Animal model development
  • Emerging infectious diseases
  • Host-pathogen interactions.

Professional associations

  • Foward Under 40 Award, UW Alumni Association
  • NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Disease
  • Richard F. Marsh Outstanding Graduate Student Award

Professional associations


Research summary/interests

Many arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) are resurgent, are spreading to new environments, and are responsible for substantial morbidity and mortality around the globe as climate change and urbanization enhance opportunities for spread and interspecies transmission. My primary research goals are to understand commonalities in patterns of arbovirus population evolution, how these features account for their success in emergence and epidemics, and how these evolutionary processes can be exploited to prevent disease. The underlying factors that promote (re)emergence are poorly understood; therefore, my team utilizes basic and applied research that emphasizes understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in establishing and maintaining the host-pathogen relationship, the role of host-specific and pathogen-specific evolutionary pressures in defining these relationships, and understanding the mechanisms of inter-species transmission. These areas primarily focus on Zika virus; however, four other arboviruses transmitted by Aedes aegypti- dengue, yellow fever, Mayaro, and chikungunya- remain circulating in the Americas, and my research interests align with all of these viruses. If the current Zika virus situation has taught us anything, it is that arbovirus emergence/re-emergence is the “new normal” in the Americas. Future outbreaks are unpredictable but likely are inevitable. Therefore, our overall goal is to develop strategies to interrupt transmission or predict a zoonotic pathogen’s adaptability or evolvability.

Research funding grants

  • NIH/NIAID Exploratory/Development Research Grant R21
  • NIH/NIAD Research Project Grant R01
  • NIH/NIAID Program Project Grant P01
  • NIH/NIAID High Priority, Short-term Project Award R56 


Mentoring statement

I am a strong believer that the best science comes from a happy learning environment, and that we will use fundamental biological principles to think critically about challenges facing our society and the world.

Academic interests and focus

  • Vector biology
  • Ecology and evolution of infectious diseases
  • Emerging infectious diseases

Teaching areas

DVM, graduate, and undergraduate courses


CFAN 3334, Parasites and Pestilence