Mark Parcells

Department of Animal and Food Sciences

Mark Parcells

Professor of Molecular Virology

Office location:
531 S. College Avenue
052 Townsend Hall
Newark, DE 19716

Resources and links


  • University of Delaware, Ph.D. (Biological Sciences), 1994
  • University of Delaware, B.A. (Biological Sciences), 1984

Current courses

  • ANFS265 – Perspectives in Careers in Animal and Food Sciences 
  • ANFS332 – Introduction to Animal Diseases
  • ANFS435/635 – Introduction to Animal Virology
  • ANFS436/636 – Immunology of Domestic Animals
  • ANFS/PLSC671 – Paradigms in Cell Signaling


The research program of Dr. Parcells is focused on the molecular virology of Marek’s disease virus (MDV), a T-lymphoma causing virus of chickens, Zika virus (human flavivirus associated with neurological damage in the unborn), human and animal coronaviruses, innate immune responses to viral infection and vaccinology.

Basic research projects

MDV transformation of T-cells: Working with collaborators, the laboratory of Dr. Parcells has identified key mechanisms of MDV genome silencing that also affect T-cell transformation. These mechanisms are also associated with numerous human malignancies, including Hodgkin’s lymphoma and, therefore, his research may be translated to new prophylactic and therapeutic treatments.

MDV evolution of virulence: Working a key collaborator (Dr. Benedikt Kaufer, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany), the laboratory of Dr. Parcells is dissecting the means by which field strains of MDV have evolved to overcome vaccines.

The Role of Exosomes in MDV Pathogenesis and Patterning of Immunity: Working with UD collaborators (Dr. Matthew B. Hudson, KAAP), the laboratory of Dr. Parcells has identified immune suppressive mechanisms in the serum exosomes (small vesicles in all biological fluids) in MD tumor-bearing chickens. Moreover, he has identified what may be a key mechanism in the coordination of systemic immunity to MD tumor development.

COVID-19-associated projects: In collaboration with a former PhD student (Dr. Vaihtilingaraja Arumugaswami, UCLA Sloan-Kettering Medical School), animal health and human pharmaceutical companies, Dr. Parcells is working on innate immune modulators in conjunction with SARS-CoV-2 proteins to develop prophylactic and therapeutic treatments for Covid-19.

Applied research projects

Antibody (IgY) production: With Arkion Life Sciences, LLC, Dr. Parcells is developing non-antibiotic alternatives for treating viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases of domestic animals (cattle, poultry and swine). His lab has also developed commercial antibodies to viral and bacterial pathogens available through Kerafast, Inc.

Vaccine development and testing: With multiple industry partners, Dr. Parcells has field tested new Marek’s disease vaccines and performed mechanism of action (MOA) testing of immune modulators to be included as vaccine adjuvants.

Since 2015

Neerukonda SN, Egan NA, Patria J, Assakhi I, Tavlarides-Hontz P, Modla S, Muñoz ER, Hudson MB, Parcells MS. A comparison of exosome purification methods using serum of Marek's disease virus (MDV)-vaccinated and -tumor-bearing chickens. Heliyon. 2020 Dec 11;6(12):e05669. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e05669. PMID: 33336096; PMCID: PMC7734234.

Conradie AM, Bertzbach LD, Trimpert J, Patria JN, Murata S, Parcells MS, Kaufer BB. Distinct polymorphisms in a single herpesvirus gene are capable of enhancing virulence and mediating vaccinal resistance. PLoS Pathog. 2020 Dec 11;16(12):e1009104. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1009104. PMID: 33306739; PMCID: PMC7758048.

Quinlan BD, He W, Mou H, Zhang L, Guo Y, Chang J, Peng S, Ojha A, Tavora R, Parcells MS, Luo G, Li W, Zhong G, Choe H, Farzan M. An engineered receptor-binding domain improves the immunogenicity of multivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2020 Nov 18:2020.11.18.388934. doi: 10.1101/2020.11.18.388934. PMID: 33236008; PMCID: PMC7685318.

Neerukonda SN, Katneni UK, Bhandari N, Parcells MS. Transcriptional Analyses of Innate and Acquired Immune Patterning Elicited by Marek's Disease Virus Vaccine Strains: Turkey Herpesvirus (HVT), Marek's Disease Virus 2 (strain SB1), and Bivalent Vaccines (HVT/SB1 and HVT-LT/SB1). Avian Dis. 2019 Dec;63(4):670-680. doi: 10.1637/aviandiseases-D-19-00117. PMID: 31865682.

Conradie AM, Bertzbach LD, Bhandari N, Parcells M, Kaufer BB. A Common Live-Attenuated Avian Herpesvirus Vaccine Expresses a Very Potent Oncogene. mSphere. 2019 Oct 9;4(5):e00658-19. doi: 10.1128/mSphere.00658-19. PMID: 31597721; PMCID: PMC6796977.

Sherer ML, Khanal P, Talham G, Brannick EM, Parcells MS, Schwarz JM. Zika virus infection of pregnant rats and associated neurological consequences in the offspring. PLoS One. 2019 Jun 20;14(6):e0218539. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0218539. PMID: 31220154; PMCID: PMC6586346.

Lawrence JH, Sherer ML, Tavlarides-Hontz P, Parcells MS, Schwarz JM. An investigation into the immune response of cultured neural rat cells following Zika virus infection. J Neuroimmunol. 2019 Jul 15;332:73-77. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2019.04.002. Epub 2019 Apr 3. PMID: 30959341; PMCID: PMC7350658.

Neerukonda SN, Tavlarides-Hontz P, McCarthy F, Pendarvis K, Parcells MS. Comparison of the Transcriptomes and Proteomes of Serum Exosomes from Marek's Disease Virus-Vaccinated and Protected and Lymphoma-Bearing Chickens. Genes (Basel). 2019 Feb 5;10(2):116. doi: 10.3390/genes10020116. PMID: 30764491; PMCID: PMC6410298.

Nath Neerukonda S, Egan NA, Patria J, Assakhi I, Tavlarides-Hontz P, Modla S, Muñoz ER, Hudson MB, Parcells MS. Comparison of exosomes purified via ultracentrifugation (UC) and Total Exosome Isolation (TEI) reagent from the serum of Marek's disease virus (MDV)-vaccinated and tumor-bearing chickens. J Virol Methods. 2019 Jan;263:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2018.10.004. Epub 2018 Oct 11. PMID: 30316797.

Neerukonda SN, Katneni UK, Bott M, Golovan SP, Parcells MS. Induction of the unfolded protein response (UPR) during Marek's disease virus (MDV) infection. Virology. 2018 Sep;522:1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2018.06.016. Epub 2018 Jul 3. PMID: 29979959.

Kim T, Hunt HD, Parcells MS, van Santen V, Ewald SJ. Two class I genes of the chicken MHC have different functions: BF1 is recognized by NK cells while BF2 is recognized by CTLs. Immunogenetics. 2018 Sep;70(9):599-611. doi: 10.1007/s00251-018-1066-2. Epub 2018 Jun 9. Erratum in: Immunogenetics. 2018 Jul 7;: PMID: 29947944.

Padhi A, Parcells MS. Positive Selection Drives Rapid Evolution of the meq Oncogene of Marek's Disease Virus. PLoS One. 2016 Sep 23;11(9):e0162180. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162180. PMID: 27662574; PMCID: PMC5035050.

Neerukonda SN, Katneni UK, Golovan S, Parcells MS. Evaluation and validation of reference gene stability during Marek's disease virus (MDV) infection. J Virol Methods. 2016 Oct;236:111-116. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2016.07.017. Epub 2016 Jul 19. PMID: 27448823.