John Chiorini, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Molecular Physiology and Therapeutics Branch/Adeno-Associated Virus Biology Section


Building 10, Room 1N113
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892


Research Topics

Since 1997, his research has focused on the underlying biology associated with viral gene transfer and the development of novel high activity gene transfer vectors. The overall research goal of the AAV Biology Section is to define the interactions of adeno-associated virus (AAV) with its target cell. Our hypothesis is that by understanding these interactions, and the biology of the virus, we can contribute to the use of AAV vectors for gene therapy. The Molecular Physiology and Therapeutics Branch's program on gene transfer to the salivary gland considers AAV vectors to be the most useful vector for clinical studies with this tissue. Staff members focus on two types of interactions: those encompassing viral transduction of the target cell, and those involving the Rep proteins of wild type AAV and their cellular partners. Current projects study:

  • the tropism and transduction pathways of different serotypes of AAV
  • identifying and characterizing new isolates of AAV
  • as well as the engineering of new vectors by selective screening or rational design.

In addition to our research focus on the causes and treatment of autoimmune disease in collaboration with the Sjogren's clinic, application of our gene transfer technology includes delivery of therapeutic genes to the salivary glands, lung, CNS, inner ear, and eye for the treatment of both local and systemic diseases.


Dr. John (Jay) Chiorini received his B.A. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1986 and his Ph.D. in genetics from George Washington University in 1993. Afterwards he completed post-doctoral training fellowships at both the National Institutes of General Medical Science (Pharmacology Research and Training Program) and in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. He joined the NIDCR as a tenure track investigator in 1999 and currently serves as chief of the Adeno-Associated Virus Biology Section, Molecular Physiology and Therapeutics Branch.

Selected Publications

  1. Lai Z, Yin H, Cabrera-Pérez J, Guimaro MC, Afione S, Michael DG, Glenton P, Patel A, Swaim WD, Zheng C, Nguyen CQ, Nyberg F, Chiorini JA. Aquaporin gene therapy corrects Sjögren's syndrome phenotype in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016;113(20):5694-9.

  2. Yin H, Cabrera-Perez J, Lai Z, Michael D, Weller M, Swaim WD, Liu X, Catalán MA, Rocha EM, Ismail N, Afione S, Rana NA, Di Pasquale G, Alevizos I, Ambudkar I, Illei GG, Chiorini JA. Association of bone morphogenetic protein 6 with exocrine gland dysfunction in patients with Sjögren's syndrome and in mice. Arthritis Rheum. 2013;65(12):3228-38.

  3. Roescher N, Vosters JL, Alsaleh G, Dreyfus P, Jacques S, Chiocchia G, Sibilia J, Tak PP, Chiorini JA, Mariette X, Gottenberg JE. Targeting the splicing of mRNA in autoimmune diseases: BAFF inhibition in Sjögren's syndrome as a proof of concept. Mol Ther. 2014;22(4):821-7.

  4. Weller ML, Gardener MR, Bogus ZC, Smith MA, Astorri E, Michael DG, Michael DA, Zheng C, Burbelo PD, Lai Z, Wilson PA, Swaim W, Handelman B, Afione SA, Bombardieri M, Chiorini JA. Hepatitis Delta Virus Detected in Salivary Glands of Sjögren's Syndrome Patients and Recapitulates a Sjögren's Syndrome-Like Phenotype <i>in Vivo</i>. Pathog Immun. 2016;1(1):12-40.

  5. Baum BJ, Alevizos I, Zheng C, Cotrim AP, Liu S, McCullagh L, Goldsmith CM, Burbelo PD, Citrin DE, Mitchell JB, Nottingham LK, Rudy SF, Van Waes C, Whatley MA, Brahim JS, Chiorini JA, Danielides S, Turner RJ, Patronas NJ, Chen CC, Nikolov NP, Illei GG. Early responses to adenoviral-mediated transfer of the aquaporin-1 cDNA for radiation-induced salivary hypofunction. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012;109(47):19403-7.

This page was last updated on August 17th, 2017