Prof. Dr. Alex Greenwood

Head of Department

Department of Wildlife Diseases

External position: Professor of Wildlife Diseases, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin

Tel: 0049 (0) 30 5168 - 255

Short curriculum vitae

Alex D. Greenwood is Head of the Department of Wildlife Diseases at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and Professor of Wildlife Diseases at the Freie Universität Berlin in the Department of Veterinary Medicine in Germany. Prof. Greenwood’s group is active in evolutionary virology focusing on retroviruses and herpesviruses. He is investigating how herpesviruses spread in the environment and from one species to another. He has a long standing interest in evolutionary mechanisms underlying retroviral colonization of vertebrate genomes and applies ancient DNA methods, in some cases, to gain insights into the process. His group recently characterized several retroviral groups from polar bears while investigating the cause of death of the world famous polar bear, Knut of the Berlin Zoological Garden. In the process he and his colleagues determined that Knut suffered from encephalitis caused by an autoimmune disease that previously had only been diagnosed in humans.
Research interests
  • Wildlife Diseases
  • Evolutionary Virology
  • Pathogen transmission
  • Pathogen genomics
  • Wildlife herpesviruses
  • Retroviruses
  • High throughput sequencing methods
  • Ancient DNA
Selected publications

Alquezar-Planas DE, Löber U, Cui P, Quedenau Q, Chen W, Greenwood AD (2021): DNA sonication inverse PCR for genome scale analysis of uncharacterized flanking sequences. METHODS ECOL EVOL 12, 182–195. doi:10.1111/2041-210X.13497

Dayaram A, Seeber P, Courtiol A, Soilemetzidou S, Tsangaras K, Franz M, McEwen G, Azab W, Kaczensky P, Melzheimer J, East M, Ganbaatar O, Walzer C, Osterrieder N, Greenwood AD (2021): Seasonal host and ecological drivers may promote restricted water as a viral vector. SCI TOTAL ENVIRON 733, 145446. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145446

McEwen GK, Alquezar-Planas DE, Dayaram A, Gillett A, Tarlinton R, Mongan N, Chappell KJ, Henning J, Tan M, Timms P, Young PR, Roca AL, Greenwood AD (2021): Retroviral integrations contribute to elevated host cancer rates during germline invasion. NAT COMMUN 12, 1316. doi:10.1038/s41467-021-21612-7

Rasche A, Lehmann F, Goldmann N, Nagel M, Moreira-Soto A, Nobach D, de Oliveira Carneiro I, Osterrieder N, Greenwood AD, Steinmann E, Lukashev AN, Schuler G, Glebe D, Drexler JF, and the Equid HBV Consortium (2021): A novel hepatitis B virus causes chronic 1 infections in equids worldwide. PROC NATL ACAD SCI USA 118, e2013982118. doi:10.1073/pnas.2013982118

Jo KW, Ferreira de Oliveira-Filho E, Rasche A, Greenwood AD, Osterrrieder K, Drexler JF (in press): Potential zoonotic sources of SARS CoV 2 infections. TRANSBOUND EMERG DIS. doi:10.1111/tbed.13872

Barrow P, Dujardin JD, Fasel N, Greenwood AD, Osterrrieder N, Lomonosoff G, Fiori PL, Atterbury R, Rossi M, Lalle M (2020): Viruses of protozoan parasites and viral therapy: Is the time now right? VIROL J 17, 142. doi:10.1186/s12985-020-01410-1

Hecht-Höger AM, Braun BC, Krause E, Meschede A, Krahe R, Voigt CC, Greenwood AD, Czirják GÁ (2020): Plasma proteomic profiles differ between European and North American myotid bats colonized by Pseudogymnoascus destructans. MOL ECOL 29, 1745–1755. doi:10.1111/mec.15437

Heger T, Bernard-Verdier M, Gessler A, Greenwood AD, Grossart HP, Hilker M, Keinath S, Kowarik I, Marquard E, Müller J, Niemeier S, Onandia G, Petermann JS, Rillig MC, Rödel MO, Saul WC, Schittko C, Tockner K, Joshi J, Jeschke JM (2020): Clear language for ecosystem management in the Anthropocene: A reply to Bridgewater and Hemming. BIOSCIENCE 70, 374–376. doi:10.1093/biosci/biaa024

Hein A, Palme R, Baumgartner K, von Fersen L, Woelfing B, Greenwood AD, Bechshoft T, Siebert U (2020): Faecal glucocorticoid metabolites as a measure of adrenocortical activity in polar bears (Ursus maritimus). CONSERV PHYSIOL 8, coaa012. doi:10.1093/conphys/coaa012

Hornok S, Mühldorfer K, Takács N, Hofmann-Lehmann R, Meli ML, Gyuranecz M, Unnsteinsdóttir ER, Greenwood AD, Czirják GÁ (2020): Broad range screening of vector-borne pathogens in arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) in Iceland. ANIMALS 10, 2031. doi:10.3390/ani10112031

Prüter H, Franz M, Twietmeyer S, Böhm N, Middendorff G, Portas R, Melzheimer J, Kolberg H, von Samson-Himmelstjerna G, Greenwood AD, Lüschow D, Mühldorfer K, Czirják GÁ (2020): Increased immune marker variance in a population of invasive birds. SCI REP 10, 21764. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-78427-7

Seeber PA, Kuzmina TA, Greenwood AD, East ML (2020): Effects of life history stage and climatic conditions on fecal egg counts in plains zebras (Equus quagga) in the Serengeti National Park. PARASITOL RES 119, 3401–3413. doi:10.1007/s00436-020-06836-8

Seeber PA, Morrison T, Ortega A, East ML, Greenwood AD, Czirják GÁ (2020): Immune differences in captive and free-ranging zebras (Equus zebra and E. quagga). MAMM BIOL 100, 155–164. doi:10.1007/s42991-020-00006-0

Soilemetzidou S, de Bruin E, Franz M, Aschenborn OHK, Rimmelzwaan GF, van Beek R, Koopmans M, Greenwood AD*, Czirják GÁ* (2020): Diet may drive influenza A virus exposure in African mammals. J INFECT DIS 221, 175–182. doi:10.1093/infdis/jiz032

Soilemetzidou SE, de Bruin E, Eschke K, Azab W, Osterrieder N, Czirják GÁ, Buuveibaatar B, Kaczensky P, Koopmans M, Walzer C, Greenwood AD (2020): Bearing the brunt: Mongolian khulan (Equus hemionus hemionus) are exposed to multiple influenza A strains. VET MICROBIOL 242, 108605. doi:10.1016/j.vetmic.2020.108605

Seeber PA, McEwen GK, Löber U, Förster DW, East ML, Melzheimer J, Greenwood AD (2019) Terrestrial mammal surveillance using hybridization capture of environmental DNA from African waterholes. Mol Ecol Res. 19(6):1486-1496

Soilemetzidou S, de Bruin E, Franz M, Aschenborn OHK,  Rimmelzwaan GF, van Beek R, Koopmans M, Greenwood AD*, Czirják G*  (2019) Diet may drive influenza A virus exposure in African mammals. J Infect Dis. Online first, In press * Corresponding authors

Presslee S, Slater G, Pujos F, Forasiepi AM, Fischer R, Olsen J, Molloy K, Mackie M,  Kramarz A, Taglioretti M, Scaglia F, Lezcano M, Hajduk A, Southon J, Feranec R, Bloch J, Lanata JL, Martin FM, Gismondi RS, Reguero M, de Muizon C, Billet G, Greenwood AD, Chait B, Collins M, MacPhee RDE (2019) Collagen proteomics resolves relationships of tree sloths and their extinct relatives. Nat Ecol Evol. 3(7):1-10

Numberger D, Riedel T, McEwen G, Nübel U, Frentrup M, Schober I, Bunk B, Spröer C, Overmann J,Grossart HP, Greenwood AD (2019) Genomic analysis of three Clostridioides difficile isolates from urban water sources. Anaerobe. 8;56:22-26

Seeber PA, Dayaram A, Sicks F, Osterrieder N, Franz M,* Greenwood AD* (2019) Non-invasive detection of equid herpesviruses using fecal samples. Appl. Environ. Micro. 85(3). pii: e02234-18.* equal contribution

Löber U, Hobbs M, Dayaram A, Tsangaras K, Jones K, Alquezar-Planas DE, Ishida Y, Meers J, Mayer J, Quedenau C, Chen W, Johnson RN, Timms P, Young P, Roca AL*, Greenwood AD* (2018) Degradation and remobilization of endogenous retroviruses by recombination during the earliest stages of a germline invasion. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 115(34):8609-8614 * corresponding authors

Franz M, Kramer-Schadt S, Greenwood AD, Courtiol A (2018) Sickness-induced lethargy can increase host contact rates and pathogen spread in water-limited landscapes. Functional Ecol. 32(9):2194-2204

Azab W§, Dayaram A§, Greenwood AD*, Osterrieder N* (2018) How host specific are herpesviruses? Lessons from herpesviruses infecting wild and endangered mammals. Ann Rev Virol. 5(1):53-68. §Equal contributors, * Co-PI

Dayaram A, Tsangaras K, Pavulraj S, Azab W, Groenke N, Wibbelt G, Sicks F, Osterrieder N, Greenwood AD. (2018) Novel Divergent Polar Bear-Associated Mastadenovirus Recovered from a Deceased Juvenile Polar Bear. mSphere. 3(4). pii: e00171-18.

Johnson RN, et al (2018) Out on a limb –insights into adaptation, survival and conservation from the koala genome. Nat Genetics. 50(8):1102-1111.

Mendoza MLZ, Xiong Z, Escalera-Zamudiod M, Rungea AK, Thézée J, Streicker D, Frank HK, Loza-Rubio E, Liu S, Ryder OA, Castruita JAS, Katzourakis A, Pacheco GA, Taboada B, Löber U, Pybus OG, Li Y, Rojas-Anaya E, Bohmann K, Baez AC, Arias CF, Liu S, Greenwood AD, Bertelsen MF, White NE, Bunce M, Zhang G, Sicheritz-Pontén T, Gilbert MTP (2018) Hologenomic adaptations underlying the evolution of sanguivory in the common vampire bat. Nat. Ecol. Evol. 2(4):659-668

Dayaram A, Franz M , Schattschneider A, Damiani AM , Bischofberger S, Osterrieder N, Greenwood AD (2017) Long term stability and infectivity of herpesviruses in water. Sci Rep. 7:46559

Escalera-Zamudioa M, Rojas-Anayab E, Kolokotronis SO,  Taboada B, Méndez-Ojedad ML, Loza-Rubiob E, Arias CF, Osterrieder N, Greenwood AD (2016). Bats, primates, and the evolutionary origins and diversification of mammalian gammaherpesviruses. mBio. 7(6). pii: e01425-16

Alfano N, Michaux J, Morand S, Aplin K, Tsangaras K, Löber U, Fabre PH, Fitriana Y, Semiadi G, Ishida Y, Helgen KM, Roca AL, Eiden MV, Greenwood AD. (2016) An endogenous gibbon ape leukemia virus (GALV) identified in a rodent (Melomysburtoni subsp.) from Wallacea (Indonesia). J Virol. 90(18):8169-80

Escalera-Zamudio M,  Zepeda-Mendoza ML, Loza-Rubio E, Rojas-Anaya E, Méndez-Ojeda ML, Arias CF,  Greenwood AD (2015) The evolution of bat nucleic acid sensing Toll-1 like receptors. Mol Ecol. 24(23):5899-909.

Escalera-Zamudio M, Zepeda LM, Heeger F, Loza-Rubio E, Rojas-Anaya E, Méndez-Ojeda M, Taboada B, Mazzoni CJ, Arias CF,  Greenwood AD (2015) A novel endogenous betaretroviruses in the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) suggests multiple independent infection and cross-species transmission events. J Virol. 89(9):5180-4

Ishida Y, Zhao K, Greenwood AD, Roca AL. (2015) Proliferation of Endogenous Retroviruses in the Early Stages of a Host Germ Line Invasion. Mol Biol Evol. 32(1):109-20

Greenwood AD*, Tsangaras K*, Ho SY, Szentiks CA, Nikolin VM, Ma G, Damiani A, East ML, Lawrenz A, Hofer H, Osterrieder N. (2012) A Potentially Fatal Mix of Herpes in Zoos. Curr Biol. 22(18):1727-31  *Equal contributors

Ávila-Arcos MC*, Ho SYW*, Ishida Y*, Nikolaidis N*, TsangarasK, Hönig K, Medina R, Rasmussen M, Fordyce SL, Calvignac-Spencer S, Willerslev E, Gilbert MTP, Helgen KM, Roca AL§, Greenwood. AD.§ (2012) 120 years of koala retrovirus evolution determined from museum skins. Mol Biol Evol 30(2):299-304. * equal contributors, § corresponding authors