Kathryn Christine Zoon, Ph.D., B.S.

Scientist Emeritus

Cytokine Biology Section


Building 50, Room 5511-18
50 South Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892



Research Topics

The Cytokine Biology Section (CBS) conducts basic and translational research on human IFNs. Our studies examine the structure and function of human IFN alphas using a variety of methods, including protein engineering, gene expression microarrays, proteomics, and bioassays.

The CBS is composed of an interactive group of Ph.D., M.D., and interdisciplinary scientists who work in a state-of-the-art building. The laboratory program is aimed at the following:

  • Identifying the structure and function of both naturally occurring and protein-engineered human IFN-alphas
  • Examining the interaction of IFN-alpha with its receptor
  • Studying the signal transduction pathways of IFN-alphas using gene expression microarrays and proteomics
  • Studying the biological effects of IFN-alphas in cell culture and animal models


Dr. Zoon obtained her B.S. cum laude and her Ph.D. in biochemistry from The Johns Hopkins University. Her research focuses on the structure and function of human IFNs. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Interferon Research and author or co-author of more than 100 publications. She was past president of the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research (2000 – 2001), served on the board of directors for the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES) and the International Association of Biologicals, and was the first vice president of FAES.

Prior to joining NIAID in June 2004, Dr. Zoon was principal deputy director of the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the FDA, and a member of the NIH Scientific Directors. She has received numerous awards and is a member of the Institute of Medicine.

Selected Publications

  1. Ganatra MB, Vainauskas S, Hong JM, Taylor TE, Denson JP, Esposito D, Read JD, Schmeisser H, Zoon KC, Hartley JL, Taron CH. A set of aspartyl protease-deficient strains for improved expression of heterologous proteins in Kluyveromyces lactis. FEMS Yeast Res. 2011;11(2):168-78.
  2. Schmeisser H, Mejido J, Balinsky CA, Morrow AN, Clark CR, Zhao T, Zoon KC. Identification of alpha interferon-induced genes associated with antiviral activity in Daudi cells and characterization of IFIT3 as a novel antiviral gene. J Virol. 2010;84(20):10671-80.
  3. Bekisz J, Baron S, Balinsky C, Morrow A, Zoon KC. Antiproliferative Properties of Type I and Type II Interferon. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2010;3(4):994-1015.
  4. Tsuno T, Mejido J, Zhao T, Schmeisser H, Morrow A, Zoon KC. IRF9 is a key factor for eliciting the antiproliferative activity of IFN-alpha. J Immunother. 2009;32(8):803-16.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Wednesday, February 29, 2012