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Sabra L. Klein, PhD

  • Professor

Departmental Affiliations

Center & Institute Affiliations

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room W2118
Baltimore, Maryland 21205


Klein Lab

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PhD, Johns Hopkins University, 1998
MA, University of Georgia, 1996
MS, University of Georgia, 1994
BA, Randolph-Macon College, 1992


The overarching goal of my research program is to uncover the mechanisms mediating how males and females differ in their immune responses to viral infection and vaccination. We hypothesize that sex chromosome complement and X-linked genes as well as sex steroids and signaling through sex steroid receptors are critical pathways modulating immune responses to viruses. We consider how immunological, hormonal, and genetic differences between males and females affect sex differences in susceptibility to viruses, including influenza, Zika, and SARS-CoV-2 viruses. We also study the mechanisms mediating altered immune responses and infectious disease pathogenesis during pregnancy. Our research indicates that non-pregnant females typically mount more robust immune responses than males, which can be beneficial for the efficacy of vaccines and clearance of viruses, but also can be detrimental by causing immunopathology.

Honors and Awards

2017 Delta Omega Induction

2016 Distinguished Alumni Award, Randolph-Macon College

2010 Society for Women’s Health Research Medtronic Award for Science Contributions

2007 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Faculty Innovation Fund Award

2002 National Foundation for Infectious Diseases New Investigator Award

  • Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
  • Androgens
  • Contraceptives
  • COVID-19
  • Endocrine-Immune Interactions
  •  Estrogens
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Influenza
  • Pregnancy
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sex Differences
  • Vaccines
  • Viruses
  • Women's Health
  • Zika virus

This list contains recent publications from the past year, with a majority reflecting the hard work of trainees in the Klein lab.

  • Klein, S. L., Pekosz, A., Park, H-.S., Ursin, R. L., Shapiro, J., Benner, S., Littlefield, K., Kumar, S., Naik, H., Betenbaugh, M. J., Shrestha, R., Wu, A., Hughes, R., Burgess, I., Caturegli, P., Laeyendecker, O., Quinn, T. C., Sullivan, D., Shoham, S., Redd, A. D., Bloch, E. M., Casadevall, A., Tobian, A. A. R. Sex, age, and hospitalization drive antibody responses in a COVID-19 convalescent plasma donor population. MedRxiv,
  • Ursin, R. L., Liu, H., Powell, H. R., Westerbeck, J., Shaw-Saliba, K., Sylvia, K., Fenstermacher, K. J., Mehoke, T., Theilen, P., Rothman, R. E., Pekosz, A., & Klein, S. L. 2020. Differential antibody recognition of H3N2 vaccine and seasonal influenza virus strains based on age, vaccine status, and sex in the 2017-18 season. Journal of Infectious Diseases, doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiaa289.
  • Scully, E., Haverfield, J., Ursin, R. L., Tannenbaum, C., & Klein. S. L. 2020. Sex is a variable in immune responses and COVID-19 outcomes. Nature Reviews Immunology, doi: 10.1038/s41577-020-0348-8.
  • Mauvais-Jarvis, F., Bairey Merz, N., Barnes, P.J., Brinton, R.D., Carrero, J.J., DeMeo, D.L., De Vries, G.J., Epperson, C.N., Govindan, R., Klein, S.L., Lonardo, A., Maki, P.M., McCullough, L.D., Regitz-Zagrosek, V., Regensteiner, J.G., Rubin, J.B., Sandberg, K., & Suzuki, A. 2020. Sex and gender: Modifiers of health, disease and medicine. Lancet, In press.
  • Chudnovets, A., Lei, J., Narasimhan, H., Klein, S.L., & Burd, I. 2020. Dose-dependent structural and immunological changes in the placenta and fetal brain in response to systemic inflammation during pregnancy. American Journal of Reproductive Immunology, doi: 10.1111/aji.13248.