Thomas Friedrich, PhD

Thomas Friedrich, PhD

phone: 608-265-3381 / 608-265-3389


Professor, Dept. of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin



B.S. University of Wisconsin
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin

Research interest: The overarching goal of our research is to understand how RNA viruses overcome evolutionary barriers to emerge and cause disease in humans. We study the ways that viruses evolve within individual hosts, and during transmission to new hosts, to do things like evade detection from innate and adaptive immunity or acquire the ability to infect new cell, tissue, and host types. Through our discoveries, we hope to contribute to the global campaigns against emerging and re-emerging pathogens like influenza, Zika, HIV, and now the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

We are firm believers in open science. Data, protocols, and other resources from our SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 projects are available publicly at our open research portal, hosted by LabKey. 

Currently the lab is focusing on 3 main research areas:

  1. We are sequencing SARS-CoV-2 genomes to track the emergence and spread of variants in the Midwest and to understand patterns of virus transmission and evolution.
  2. We are studying how influenza viruses evolve within and between hosts. One set of projects uses a cool library of barcoded influenza viruses to track how viruses diversify within infected hosts and across transmission bottlenecks.
  3. We are working with a consortium of investigators to understand how immune responses that cross-react with Zika virus and dengue viruses might contribute to the disease processes associated with these viruses.