Researcher Profile

Researcher Profile

Leslie Parent, MD

Leslie Parent, MD

Vice Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, Penn State College of Medicine
Professor, Department of Medicine
Division of Infectious Diseases
Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Scientific Program:Mechanisms of Carcinogenesis

Research Interests

Dr. Leslie Parent's research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the assembly of retrovirus particles. Her laboratory members uses genetic, biochemical, biophysical and live-cell imaging approaches to dissect the viral and cellular factors that mediate the trafficking of retroviral proteins and genomic RNA complexes in infected cells. Their investigation of the host factors involved in transport of retroviral proteins and RNAs throughout the cell is at the interface of virology and cellular biology.

Recent work in Dr. Parent's laboratory has focused on studying the mechanism by which retroviruses recognize their RNA genomes and select them for incorporation into virions. She has adopted a comparative retrovirology approach by comparing and contrasting the replication strategies of Rous sarcoma virus, mouse mammary tumor virus and human immunodeficiency virus. Members of her laboratory discovered that the Gag protein of Rous sarcoma virus undergoes nuclear trafficking, which is required for efficient incorporation of genomic RNA into virions. This work challenges the current dogma of how retroviruses select and incorporate their genomic RNA into virus particles. 

In addition to her research, Dr. Parent is a standing member of the NIH study section HVCD (HIV Molecular Virology, Cell Biology and Drug Discovery).

  • gag Gene Products
  • Rous sarcoma virus
  • RNA
  • Retroviridae
  • Virion
  • Viral RNA
  • HIV-1
  • Cell Membrane
  • Cell Nucleus Active Transport
  • Proteins
  • Product Packaging
  • Virus Assembly

Recent Publications


Huang, X, Dovat, S, Mailman, RB, Thiboutot, DM, Berini, D & Parent, LJ 2021, 'Building a System to Engage and Sustain Research Careers for Physicians', Academic Medicine, pp. 490-494.
Chen, EC, Kaddis Maldonado, RJ & Parent, LJ 2021, 'Visualizing rous sarcoma virus genomic rna dimerization in the nucleus, cytoplasm, and at the plasma membrane', Viruses, vol. 13, no. 5, 903.


Tuffy, KM, Kaddis Maldonado, RJ, Chang, J, Rosenfeld, P, Cochrane, A & Parent, LJ 2020, 'Hiv-1 gag forms ribonucleoprotein complexes with unspliced viral rna at transcription sites', Viruses, vol. 12, no. 11, 1281.
Rice, BL, Lochmann, TL & Parent, LJ 2020, 'RNA-binding domains of heterologous viral proteins substituted for basic residues in the RSV gag NC domain restore specific packaging of genomic RNA', Viruses, vol. 12, no. 4, 370.
Liu, S, Maldonado, RK, Rye-McCurdy, T, Binkley, C, Bah, A, Chen, EC, Rice, BL, Parent, LJ & Musier-Forsyth, K 2020, 'Rous sarcoma virus genomic RNA dimerization capability in vitro is not a prerequisite for viral infectivity', Viruses, vol. 12, no. 5, 568.
Rice, BL, Stake, MS & Parent, LJ 2020, 'TNPO3-mediated nuclear entry of the rous sarcoma virus gag protein is independent of the cargo-binding domain', Journal of virology, vol. 94, no. 17, e00640-20.
Maldonado, RJK, Rice, B, Chen, EC, Tuffy, KM, Chiari, EF, Fahrbach, KM, Hope, TJ & Parent, LJ 2020, 'Visualizing association of the retroviral gag protein with unspliced viral RNA in the nucleus', mBio, vol. 11, no. 2, e00524-20.


Benkirane, M, Berkhout, B, Borrow, P, Fassati, A, Fujii, M, Garcia-Martinez, JV, Margolis, D, Nijhuis, M, Parent, L, Strebel, K, Venter, F, Kirchhoff, F, Lever, A, Ross, S & Mak, J 2019, 'A trip down memory lane with Retrovirology', Retrovirology, vol. 16, no. 1, 22.


Parent, L 2018, Introduction. in LJ Parent (ed.), Retrovirus-Cell Interactions. 1 edn, Elsevier, pp. xxix-xxxv.
Parent, L (ed.) 2018, Retrovirus-Cell Interactions. 1 edn, Elsevier.
Parent, LJ 2018, Retrovirus-cell interactions. Elsevier.
Chen, E & Parent, L 2018, Role of host factors in subcellular trafficking of Gag proteins and genomic RNA leading to virion assembly. in LJ Parent (ed.), Retrovirus-Cell Interactions. 1 edn, Elsevier, pp. 274-317.
Chen, EC & Parent, LJ 2018, Role of host factors in the subcellular trafficking of gag proteins and genomic RNA leading to virion assembly. in Retrovirus-Cell Interactions. Elsevier, pp. 273-315.
Kaddis Maldonado, RJ, Chen, E & Parent, L 2018, Strategies to discover novel cellular factors involved in retrovirus replication. in LJ Parent (ed.), Retrovirus-Cell Interactions. 1 edn, Elsevier, pp. 528-568. <>


Bewley, MC, Reinhart, L, Stake, MS, Nadaraia-Hoke, S, Parent, LJ & Flanagan, JM 2017, 'A non-cleavable hexahistidine affinity tag at the carboxyl-terminus of the HIV-1 Pr55Gag polyprotein alters nucleic acid binding properties', Protein Expression and Purification, vol. 130, pp. 137-145.

Clinical Trials Search

Children (age < 18 years)
Adults (age >= 18 years)