Pramila Walpita, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Tropical Medicine,
Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology
University of Hawaii
Honolulu, HI, USA


Dr. Walpita earned her PhD from the University of London, England. Before joining UH, she was a Senior Research Scientist at the Pharmaceutical Company Wyeth Vaccines (currently Pfizer), and more recently a Research Faculty at University of Texas Medical Branch. Her research interests include vaccinology, molecular biology, immunology, and pathogenesis of paramyxoviruses. Her current research is focused on developing virus-like particle (VLP)-based vaccine for two of the paramyxoviruses, Nipah virus and respiratory syncytial virus. She is pursuing studies to understand how VLPs are sensed by the host and the nature of innate immunity induced as a result. She is also interested in the ultrastructural make-up of varying VLPs with the aim of maximizing their therapeutic potential. An additional interest is in evaluating the molecular mechanisms of transcription and replication control of viruses in the Paramyxovirinae subfamily.

Research Interest

Her research interests include: Vaccines, Host-pathogen interactions, T cell priming Cytokines/Chemokines and Pathogenesis of Paramyxoviruses.

Scientific Activities


• American Society for Virology
• Royal Society of Medicine, London, England
• Royal College of Pathologists, London, England


1. Walpita P, Johns LM, Tandon R, Moore ML. Mammalian Cell-Derived Respiratory Syncytial Virus-Like Particles Protect the Lower as well as the Upper Respiratory Tract. PLoS ONE. 2015; 10(7). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130755
2. Walpita P. Virus-like particle and synthetic nanoparticle-based vaccines for paramyxoviruses. Current Topics in Virology. 2014; 12: 87-97.
3. Walpita P, Barr J, Sherman M, Basler, LinFa Wang. Vaccine Potential of Nipah virus-like particles. PLoS ONE. 2011; 6(4). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018437
4. Walpita P, Peters CJ. Cis-acting elements in the antigenomic propmoter of Nipah virus. J Gen Virol. 2007; 88: 2542-2551. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.83035-0
5. Flick R, Walpita P, Czub M. Nipah Hendra Viruses. In: Guerrant RL, Walker DH, Weller PF, Eds. Tropical Infectious Diseases: Principles, Pathogens, and Practice.Elsevier Churchill, Livingstone. 2005.
6. Walpita P, Flick RA. Reverse Genetics of Negative-Stranded RNA Viruses: A Global Perspective. FEMS Microbiology Letters. 2005; 244: 9-18. doi: 10.1016/j.femsle.2005.01.046
7. Walpita P. An internal element in the measles virus antigenomic promoter modulates replication efficiency. Virus Research. 2004; 100: 199-211.
8. Parks CL, Wang HP, Kovacs GR, et al. Expression of a foreign gene by recombinant canine distemper virus recovered from cloned DNAs. Virus Res. 2002; 83: 131-147. doi: 10.1016/S0168-1702(01)00430-0
9. Parks CL, Lerch RA, Walpita P, Wang HP, Sidhu MS, Udem SA. Analysis of the Noncoding Regions of Measles Virus Strains in the Edmonston Vaccine Lineage. J Virol. 2001; 75(1): 921-933. doi: 10.1128/JVI.75.2.921-933.2001
10. Parks CL, Lerch RA, Walpita P, Wang HP, Sidhu MS, Udem SA. Comparison of Predicted Amino Acid Sequences of Measles Virus Strains in the Edmonston Vaccin Lineage. J. Virol. 2001; 75 (1): 910-920. doi: 10.1128/JVI.75.2.910-920.2001
11. Parks C, Lerch RA, Walpita P, Sidhu MS, Udem,SA. Enhanced measles virus cDNA rescue and gene expression after heat shock. J. Virol. 1999; 73(5): 3560-3566.
12. Angel JB, Walpita P, Lerch RA, et al. Vaccine-associated measles pneumonitis in an adult with AIDS. Annals of Int. Med. 1998; 129(2): 104-106.
13. Aintablian N, Walpita P, Sawyer MH. Detection of Bordetella pertussis and respiratory synctial virus in air samples from hospital rooms. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. 1998; 19(12): 918-923.
14. Ramboud C, Walpita P, Krous HF. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: A Review. Pathology: State of the Art Reviews. 1993; 2: 1-21.
15. Walpita P, Billman GF, Krous HF. Mammalian epithelial cell line for the detection of C. difficile toxin. J. Clin. Micro. 1993; 31(20): 315-317.
16. Walpita P, Mufson M, et al. Distinction between subgroups of respiratory syncytial virus by protein profile analysis. J. Clin. Micro. 1992; 30(4): 1130-1132.
17. Jalowayski A, Walpita P, Puryear B, Connor C. Rapid detection of respiratory syncytial virus in nasopharyngeal specimens using the rhinoprobe scraper. J Clin. Micro. 1991; 28: 738-741.
18. Connor JD, Walpita P. Identification of herpes simplex virus by automated profile analysis of viral proteins. J. Virol. Methods. 1989; 24: 245-252. doi: 10.1016/0166-0934(89)90036-0
19. Walpita P, Connor JD. Protein fingerprinting: A novel virus identification system. J Virol Methods. 1989; 25: 315-324.
20. Walpita P, Darougar SD. A double label immunofluorescence test for the simultaneous detection of adenovirus and herpes simplexvirus from the eye. J Clin Micro. 1989; 27: 1623-1625.
21. Darougar S, Woodland R, Walpita P. Value and cost effectiveness of double culture tests for diagnosis of ocular viral and chlamydial infection. Br. J. Ophthalmology. 1987. doi: 10.1136/bjo.71.9.673
22. Mantall J, Goh BT, Walpita P, Woodland R. Double infection of the conjunctiva with herpes simplex virus and chlamydia trachomatis. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 1998; 15 (3): 167-168.
23. Walpita P, Darougar S, Marsh RJ, Cooper M. Development of an immunofluorescence test for the serodiagnosis of herpes zoster ophthalmicus. Br. J. Ophthalmol. 1986; 70: 431-434. doi: 10.1136/bjo.70.6.431
24. Walpita P, Darougar S, Thaker U. A rapid and sensitive culture test for detecting herpes simplex virus from the eye. Br. J. Ophthalmol. 1985; 69: 637-639. doi: 10.1136/bjo.69.9.637