Herbert (Skip) Virgin, PhD

Executive Vice President / Vir Biotechnology

Vir Biotechnology, Inc. 499 Illinois Street, Suite 500 San Francisco, CA 94158

Herbert “Skip” Virgin is the Executive Vice President of Research and Chief Scientific Officer at Vir. He previously served as the Edward Mallinckrodt Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology & Immunology at the Washington University School of Medicine.


Herbert Virgin is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the American Academy of Microbiology and the National Academy of Sciences, as well as a member of the Editorial Boards of Cell and Cell Host and Microbe.

Training and Education

  • PhD, Harvard University
  • MD, Harvard University
  • AB, Harvard University

Research Interests

While at the Washington University School of Medicine, Dr. Virgin’s lab used genetic, structural, computational and sequencing methods to define mechanisms of viral pathogenesis and immunity in vivo, with many studies focusing on mouse models.

They identified the physiologic role and molecular mechanisms of several RNA and DNA virus immune evasion molecules, and studied immune effector mechanisms including ISG15, interferon-γ, interferon-λ, cGAS and autophagy genes. They discovered major roles for autophagy genes in the regulation of inflammation and immunity.

As part of these studies, they developed and applied the concept of host complementation to define the in vivo mechanisms of viral immune evasion genes. Pathogen discovery efforts led to the discovery of the first murine norovirus, the first culture of a norovirus and the demonstration that virus infection can trigger novel disease-like pathologies in mice carrying mutations in human disease-susceptibility genes.

They also conducted next-generation sequencing-based studies that linked the human virome to enteropathy in AIDS, inflammatory bowel diseases, and risk for the development of type 1 diabetes in at-risk children.