The Faculty




Princeton University, AB, 2002

University of Michigan, PhD, 2009

Harvard School of Public Health, Postdoctoral Scholar, 2010-2013

University of Chicago, Assistant Professor, 2013-2018

University of Chicago, Associate Professor, 2018-



2016 Neubauer Faculty Development Fellowship

2014 NIH New Innovator Award

2014 James S McDonnell Foundation Complex Systems Scholar Award

2011 NIH Kirschstein National Research Service Award

2005 NSF Graduate Research Fellow

Research Interests

My research investigates the coevolution of pathogens and hosts’ adaptive immunity, with a particular focus on the management of this interaction through vaccination. I use computational and mathematical tools to test hypotheses and to advance theory. My earlier work focused on the evolutionary consequences of immune-mediated competition between different pathogen strains, including pneumococcus, human papillomavirus, and especially influenza. More recently, my focus has expanded to include the related dynamics of the host immune response. I am investigating the evolution of antibody repertoires within hosts over time to identify the roles of infection history, chance, vaccination, and host genetics in generating the diversity of B cell responses. This research involves linking epidemiological and immunological observations of B cells to the antigenic and genetic evolution of influenza viruses. We have been investigating the impact of the influenza vaccine on local (continental) viral evolution and how immune history might reduce the vaccine’s effectiveness and alter selective pressures. Improving vaccination strategies given hosts’ diverse immune histories and the potential for rapid evolution by the pathogen is the long-term aim of my work.

Selected Publications

Ranjeva, S., Subramanian, R., Fang, Vicky J., Leung, Gabriel M., Ip, Dennis K. M., Perera, Ranawaka A. P. M., Peiris, J. S. Malik, Cowling, Benjamin J., and S. Cobey. 2018. Age-specific differences in the dynamics of protective immunity to influenza. bioRxiv 330730; (in review)


Wen, F., Bell, S., Bedford, T. and S. Cobey. Estimating vaccine-driven selection in seasonal influenza. Viruses. 10(9):509.


Vieira, M., Zinder, D. and S. Cobey. 2018. Selection and neutral mutations drive pervasive mutability losses in long-lived B cell lineages. Molecular Biology and Evolution 35(5):1135-1146.



Ranjeva, S., Baskerville, E., Dukic, V., Villa, L., Lazcano-Ponce, E., Giuliano, A., Dwyer, G. and S. Cobey. 2017. Recurring infection with ecologically distinct human papillomavirus (HPV) types explains high prevalence and diversity. PNAS 114(51):13573-13578.



Cobey, S. and S. Hensley. 2017. Immune history and influenza virus susceptibility. Current Opinion in Virology 22:105-111.