Michael Letko

Michael Letko

Assistant Professor    

Dr. Michael Letko is a molecular virologist studying the mechanisms underlying viral zoonosis. Dr. Letko received his PhD. from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York where he completed his thesis on viral-host co-evolution in lentiviruses and restriction factors. During his post-doctoral fellowship at the NIH’s Rocky Mountain Laboratory campus in Montana, Dr. Letko gained an appreciation for bat-borne emerging infectious diseases and focused his research primarily on coronaviruses. Today, Dr. Letko’s laboratory of functional viromics combines synthetic biology and molecular engineering to assess if and how uncharacterized viruses from the ever-growing virome can infect human cells. His lab is building new tools to explore and study a range of emerging viruses from orthohantavirus to coronavirus across a wide breadth of host reservoir species and in vitro model systems.


  • PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, 2016

Research Interest

  • cross-species transmission
  • Coronavirus
  • Viral entry
  • Viral-host interactions
  • Co-evolution


Professional Service

  • Institutional Biosafety Committee, 2021 to present

Honors and Awards

  • NIAID Merit Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in the Early Phase of COVID-19 Response, 2020