Human Virology


Molecular epidemiology of viral infections integrates molecular biology tools and traditional epidemiology to detect and characterize at the molecular level the most prevalent viruses in a region, to determine the emergence of new viral strains and to understand its impact on human pathology, both at individual and population level.

Our group is committed to the study of the molecular epidemiology of papillomavirus infections in different epithelia. The ultimate goal is to expand the knowledge about the diversity, the phylogeny and the evolutionary history of the Papillomaviridae family.

Research Lines

Molecular epidemiology of papillomaviruses

Our interest lies on the identification of human papillomavirus (HPV) in different epithelia and on the molecular characterization of new viruses. This information is necessary to advance in the knowledge about the evolutionary history of the Papillomaviridae family. To address these issues, we are developers our own methodological strategies.

With respect to cutaneotropic HPVs, we have developed a primer system that, combined to an ultrasensitive methodology, has allowed the identification of many different types of HPV in skin samples. With this tool we characterized HPV115 (species Beta-3), the first HPV described in Argentina and South America. In order to advance in the characterization of new HPV types, we have developed a highly sensitive strategy in order to facilitate circular DNA amplification in low copy numbers, called "hanging droplet PCR for long DNA fragments”. Its application allowed the characterization of 4 new types belonging to different species of Gamma-PV genus: HPV156 (Gamma-18), HPV157 (Gamma-12) and HPV158 (Gamma-1), HPV205 (Gamma-1). Recently, and in collaboration with Dr Mario Poljak group, we have characterized the complete genome of HPV204, the third  type discovered within genus Mu-PV.

We are currently optimizing a colorimetric PCR-based system for the detection of types of genus Gamma-PV. This screening system will allow investigating the frequency of the Gamma-PV types characterized by our group in order to determine their tropism and the clinical significance of their infections.

Regarding mucosotropic HPV, we have developed an assay denominated L1HPVPCR for HPV DNA detection and typing. Currently the L1HPVPCR assay allows to detect 16 HPV types: 2 low-risk (6 and 11) and 14 high-risk (16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 66, 68 and 73). This instrument was used in a multicenter study focused to characterize the cervical HPV epidemiology in unvaccinated women exposed to the virus (sexually active) without clinical manifestations. This study provides the baseline data for future assessment of the impact of massive vaccination in Argentina. In addition, the L1HPVPCR assay was selected in 2015 in Bio.r, a Start-up Platform for biotechnological proyects driven by IBR, with the ultimate goal of creating a technology-based company dedicated to the development of molecular diagnostic kits, initially for infection HPV in the cervix.

Finally, we have initiated projects to identify and characterize new papillomaviruses in animals, particularly in new world monkeys and in bats of the species Tadarida brasiliensis. With these aims, we have established collaborations with wildlife researchers from Misiones and Tucuman, respectively. These actions constitute a prerequisite for understanding the evolutionary history of the Papillomaviradae family and to elucidate the relationships between infection and disease.


Selected Publications

  • Chouhy D and Kocjan BJ, Staheli JP, Bolatti EM, Hošnjak L, Sagadin, GIRI AA, Rose TM, Poljak M (2018). Detection of novel Betapapillomaviruses and Gammapapillomaviruses in eyebrow hair follicles using a single-tube ‘hanging droplet’ PCR assay with modified pan-PV CODEHOP primers. J Gen Virol 99:109-118.
  • Bolatti ME, Chouhy D, Hošnjak L, Casal PE, Kocjan BJ, Bottai H, Stella EJ, Sanchez A, Fernandez Bussy R, Poljak M, Giri AA (2017). Natural history of human papillomavirus infection of sun-exposed healthy skin of immunocompetent individuals along three climatic seasons and identification of HPV209, a novel Betapapillomavirus. J Gen Virol 98:1334–1348
  • Šterbenc A, Hošnjak L, Chouhy D, Bolatti EM, Oštrbenk A, Seme K, Kocjan BJ, Luzar B, Giri AA, Poljak M (2017). Molecular characterization, tissue tropism, and genetic variability of the novel Mupapillomavirus type HPV204 and phylogenetically related types HPV1 and HPV63. PLoS ONE 12(4):e0175892.
  • Bolatti ME and Chouhy D, Casal PE, Perez GR, Stella EJ, Sanchez A, Gorosito M, FernandezBussy R, Giri AA (2016). “Characterization of novel human papillomavirus types 157, 158 and 205 from healthy skin and recombination analysis in genus γ-Papillomavirus”. Infection, Genetics and Evolution 42:20-29.
  • Casal PE, Chouhy D, Bolatti EM, Perez GR, Stella EJ, Giri AA (2015). “Evidence for Homologous Recombination in Chikungunya Virus”. MolPhylogenetEvol 85:68-75.
  • Chouhy D, Bolatti EM, Piccirilli G, Sanchez A, Fernandez Bussy R, Giri AA (2013). “Identification of HPV-156, the prototype of a new human gammapapillomavirus species, by a generic and highly sensitive PCR strategy for long DNA fragments”. J Gen Virol 94(3):524-533.
  • Chouhy D, MamprínD´Andrea R, Iglesias M, Messina A, Ivancovich JJ, Cerda B, Galimberti D, Bottai H, Giri AA (2013). “Prevalence of human papillomavirus infection in Argentinean women attending two different hospitals prior to the implementation of the National vaccination program”. J Med Virol 85:655–666.
  • Chouhy D, Bolatti EM, Perez GR, Giri AA (2013). “Analysis of the genetic diversity and phylogenetic relationships of putative human papillomavirus types”. J Gen Virol 94(11):2480-2488.
  • Chouhy D, Gorosito M, Sánchez A, Serra EC, Bergero A, FernandezBussy R, Giri AA (2010). “New generic primer systemtargetingmucosal/genital and cutaneous human papillomaviruses leads to thecharacterization of HPV 115, a novel Beta-papillomavirusspecies3”. Virology 397(1):205-216.
  • Chouhy D, Benitez Gil L, Nocito AL, Wojdyla D, Ornella L, Cittadini J, Gardiol D, Giri AA (2006). “Development and evaluation of a colorimetric PCR system for the detection and typing of human papillomaviruses”. Int J Mol Med 18(5):995-1003.


  • Dr. Ramón FernandezBussy. Cátedra de Dermatología, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, UNR.
  • María Eugenia Montani, Área Zoología Vertebrados, Museo de Ciencias Naturales “Dr. Ángel Gallardo” de Rosario, Ministerio de Innovación y Cultura, provincia de Santa Fe.
  • Prof. Mario Poljak, Instituto de Microbiología e Inmunología de la Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Ljubljana, Eslovenia.
  • Dr. Rubén Bárquez, Programa de Investigaciones de Biodiversidad Argentina, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales/Instituto Miguel Lillo, UNT.
  • Dr. Domingo J. Liotta, Laboratorio de Biología Molecular Aplicada, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas Químicas y Naturales, UNaM.
  • Dr. Rubén MamprínD´Andrea. División de Ginecología, Hospital-Escuela “Eva Perón”.


  • Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica (ANPCyT).
  • Instituto Nacional del Cáncer (INC).
  • PICT Start-up
  • Universidad Nacional de Rosario (UNR)
  • Servicios Tecnológicos de Alto Nivel (STAN CONICET)

Director de Grupo

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Giri, Adriana
Core Faculty
Phone: +54 341 4350596/4350661
Office Extension: 116
Laboratory Extension: 134

Filogenia de los tipos potenciales de HPV identificados con la estrategia de PCR de la gota colgante para fragmentos largos en relación a HPVs de referencia.

Estrategia de PCR de la gota colgante para fragmentos largos. (a) Estrategia general para la generación de mitades genómicas del ADN de HPV. (b) Comparación de las sensibilidades analíticas de la PCR de la gota colgante para fragmentos largos y de la PCR simple para fragmentos largos.