Olivier Pernet

Assistant Professor of Research Pediatrics

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Dr. Olivier Pernet is a virologist with over 15 years of research experience in the field of emerging zoonotic viruses, with a special attention on bat related diseases (Nipah Virus, Ebola Virus, SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2,…). Dr. Pernet work focuses on host-virus interactions and how to use them for biomedical applications (outbreak preparedness, surveillance, high-throughput serology, drug discovery, gene therapy,…).
After a brief period at bioMérieux where he worked on SARS-CoV-1 detection assay, Dr. Pernet moved to Paris and completed a Master Degree in Medical Virology at the Paris Diderot University and the Institut Pasteur. He then joined the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon for his PhD under the mentorship of Dr. Robin Buckland. There he studied Henipaviruses cellular entry in the Bio-Safety Level 4 Jean Mérieux P4 laboratory. During his time in Lyon, he unraveled a new entry model for Paramyxoviruses and identify drugs with the potential to treat the dreaded Nipah Virus. He also worked on antivirals targeting Ebola Virus and Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus. Additionally, while in France Dr. Pernet worked on outbreak prevention and mitigation by studying viral shedding in bats from France and Mali.
Dr. Pernet then moved to the US on a joint position at UCLA and UTMB/Galveston National Laboratory. Under the supervision of Dr. Benhur Lee and Dr. Alexander Freiberg, he continued his work on viral entry, using the Henipavirus glycoproteins to design new vectors for gene therapy. While at UCLA, Dr. Pernet also documented the first human cases of Henipavirus on the African continent and identified risk factors for zoonotic transmission in Cameroon.
He has since moved on to become a faculty at Keck Medicine of USC, in the department of Pediatrics where he works on immune response toward viral (co)infections in LA’s highly diverse population. During the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, Dr. Pernet has continued his work at Keck Medicine of USC, where he developed a highly sensitive saliva-based assays against SARS-CoV-2 in order to increase hospitals testing capacities in the early days of the pandemic, and then worked the immune system interaction with COVID-19, vaccine response, and mother to child transmission of SARS-CoV-2.


  • Nature Microbiology: NSV-2018 Nature Microbiology Poster Award, 2018
  • Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI): Core Voucher Award, 2017
  • The 2017 Palm Springs Symposium on HIV/AIDS: HIV Disease from Resistance to Cure” Award, 2017
  • École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, Lyon, France: Doctorate Degree with highest distinction, 2009
  • Paris VII University, Paris, France: Master Degree with honors, 2006
  • University, Rennes, France: Academic Excellence Award – Rennes, 2005


  • A temperature-sensitive and interferon-silent Sendai virus vector for CRISPR-Cas9 delivery and gene editing in primary human cells bioRxiv. 2024 May 05. . View in PubMed
  • In vivo selection of anti-HIV-1 gene-modified human hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells to enhance engraftment and HIV-1 inhibition Mol Ther. 2024 Feb 07; 32(2):384-394. . View in PubMed
  • Surveillance of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 and Variants Using Digital Droplet Polymerase Chain Reaction at a Large University and Healthcare System in California Open Forum Infect Dis. 2023 Apr; 10(4):ofad147. . View in PubMed
  • SARS-CoV-2 viral variants can rapidly be identified for clinical decision making and population surveillance using a high-throughput digital droplet PCR assay Sci Rep. 2023 05 10; 13(1):7612. . View in PubMed
  • Association between levels of receptor binding domain antibodies of SARS-CoV-2, receipt of booster and risk of breakthrough infections: LA pandemic surveillance cohort study Sci Rep. 2023 11 25; 13(1):20761. . View in PubMed
  • Quantification of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Binding Antibody Levels To Assess Infection and Vaccine-Induced Immunity Using WHO Standards Microbiol Spectr. 2023 02 14; 11(1):e0370922. . View in PubMed
  • The Evolutionary Dance between Innate Host Antiviral Pathways and SARS-CoV-2 Pathogens. 2022 May 03; 11(5). . View in PubMed
  • Suppressing fatty acid synthase by type I interferon and chemical inhibitors as a broad spectrum anti-viral strategy against SARS-CoV-2 Acta Pharm Sin B. 2022 Apr; 12(4):1624-1635. . View in PubMed
  • Seroprevalence of Antibodies Specific to Receptor Binding Domain of SARS-CoV-2 and Vaccination Coverage Among Adults in Los Angeles County, April 2021: The LA Pandemic Surveillance Cohort Study JAMA Netw Open. 2022 01 04; 5(1):e2144258. . View in PubMed
  • Nipah Virus C Protein Recruits Tsg101 to Promote the Efficient Release of Virus in an ESCRT-Dependent Pathway PLoS Pathog. 2016 05; 12(5):e1005659. . View in PubMed
  • Stem cell-based therapies for HIV/AIDS Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2016 08 01; 103:187-201. . View in PubMed
  • Molecular recognition of human ephrinB2 cell surface receptor by an emergent African henipavirus Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Apr 28; 112(17):E2156-65. . View in PubMed
  • Timing of galectin-1 exposure differentially modulates Nipah virus entry and syncytium formation in endothelial cells J Virol. 2015 Mar; 89(5):2520-9. . View in PubMed
  • Efficient reverse genetics reveals genetic determinants of budding and fusogenic differences between Nipah and Hendra viruses and enables real-time monitoring of viral spread in small animal models of henipavirus infection J Virol. 2015 Jan 15; 89(2):1242-53. . View in PubMed
  • Evidence for henipavirus spillover into human populations in Africa Nat Commun. 2014 Nov 18; 5:5342. . View in PubMed
  • Functional rectification of the newly described African henipavirus fusion glycoprotein (Gh-M74a) J Virol. 2014 May; 88(9):5171-6. . View in PubMed
  • Nipah virus envelope-pseudotyped lentiviruses efficiently target ephrinB2-positive stem cell populations in vitro and bypass the liver sink when administered in vivo J Virol. 2013 Feb; 87(4):2094-108. . View in PubMed
  • Interferon-inducible cholesterol-25-hydroxylase broadly inhibits viral entry by production of 25-hydroxycholesterol Immunity. 2013 Jan 24; 38(1):92-105. . View in PubMed
  • Regulation of the nucleocytoplasmic trafficking of viral and cellular proteins by ubiquitin and small ubiquitin-related modifiers Biol Cell. 2012 Mar; 104(3):121-38. . View in PubMed
  • Henipavirus receptor usage and tropism Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2012; 359:59-78. . View in PubMed
  • Nipah virus entry can occur by macropinocytosis Virology. 2009 Dec 20; 395(2):298-311. . View in PubMed