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Rami A. Dalloul

Associate Professor

Poultry Immunology

  • President, VT Facuty Senate (2015-16)

Ph.D. - Poultry Immunology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

M.S. - Poultry Science/Microbiology, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Diploma of Agriculture Engineer, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

B.S. - Agriculture/Animal Science emphasis, American University of Beirut, Lebanon


Recent Honors/Awards:

2012 Scholar of the Week (February 27), Office of the Vice President for Research at Virginia Tech in recognition of research on poultry immunology and health.

2011 Hy-Line International Research Award.  Given to a Poultry Science Association (PSA) member who published outstanding research in poultry science in the preceding calendar year.

2010 Early Achievement Award in Research. Awarded by the Poultry Science Association (PSA) in recognition of demonstrated excellence in poultry research of PSA members in the early stages of their careers.

2010 Outstanding Alumnus Early Career Award. Presented by the Alumni Chapter of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (U. of Maryland) recognizing an alumnus making significant contributions to their field of endeavor. 

2009 Bayer-Snoeyenbos New Investigator Award. Presented by the American Association of Avian Pathologists (AAAP) in recognition of meritorious research contributions to the field of poultry medicine.

Dr. Dalloul’s research goals are directed toward better characterizing the host-pathogen interactions in the context of host immunity and resistance to pathogens, with emphasis on poultry gastrointestinal immunity and overall health. Also of particular interest is the stimulation of avian mucosal immunity and investigating the underlying mechanisms of local immune responses to dietary and environmental stimuli. Other aspects tackle such issues as early modulation of immune function and the use of antibiotic alternatives.

A major project involves deeper sequencing and characterization of the turkey genome, a USDA (NIFA) funded project. Next Generation Sequencing technologies are employed for targeted sequencing of chromosomes along with transcriptome analysis. This is a collaborative project with the University of Minnesota, University of Maryland and other institutions.

Research in the Avian Immunobiology Laboratory involves technologies like real-time PCR, flow cytometry, molecular biology, and RNA-seq that help dissect the molecular and cellular processes associated with avian immunity and gene function. Dr. Dalloul’s research program employs both basic and applied methodologies, thus exposing students to the most fundamental as well as the whole-animal approach of research.


Research models employed include:

- Coccidiosis as an enteric challenge to assess various methods of disease mitigation

- Necrotic enteritis in broiler chickens (naturally-occurring NE model as in field settings)

Cochlosoma anatis in turkey poults (disease & mitigation methods)

Salmonella sp. and Ecoli challenge models in chickens and turkeys (production & food safety)

- In ovo applications for post-hatch developmental and immunological studies (poultry sp.)

- Cellular (primary & cell lines) and molecular immunological investigations in avian species

- Development of avian immunological reagents, tools, and assays

APSC 2104  Poultry Laboratory

APSC 4004  Issues in Animal Science (Senior Seminar)

APSC 6984  Advanced Avian Immunology

PubMed (for a detailed list)

Recent Pubs:

  1. Park M, Kim S, Leon AE, Adelman JS, Hawley DM, Dalloul RA. Identification and functional characterization of the house finch interleukin-1β. Developmental & Comparative Immunology 69:41-50. 2017.
  2. Daughtry MR, Berio E, Shen Z, Suess E, Shah N, Geiger AE, Berguson ER, Dalloul RA, Persia ME, Shi H, Gerrard DE. Satellite cell-mediated breast muscle regeneration deceases with broiler size. Poultry Science. In press, 2017.
  3. Hamad SK, Kim S, El-Kadi SW, Wong EA, Dalloul RA. Comparative expression of host defense peptides in turkey poults. Poultry Science. In press, doi: 10.3382/ps/pew500. 2017.
  4. Foltz KL, Ritzi MM, Barrett NW, Evans NP, Collins D, Sriranganathan N, Mahsoub H, Dalloul RA, Pierson FW, Sewell J, Persia ME. Effects of Lactobacillus plantarumon live performance of broilers challenged with avian pathogenic Escherichia coli and detection of Salmonella in broilers challenged with Salmonella Typhimurium. Journal of Applied Poultry ResearchIn press, doi: 10.3382/japr/pfw074. 2017.
  5. Pender CM, Kim S, Potter TD, Ritzi MM, Young M, Dalloul RA. In ovo supplementation of probiotics and its effects on performance and immune-related gene expression in broiler chicks. Poultry Science. In press, doi: 10.3382/ps/pew381. 2017.
  6. Dalloul RA, Ritzi MM. Probiotics – a modern solution to coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis. Proceedings of the 2016 World Nutrition Forum, Vancouver, BC, Canada, pp. 117-123. 2016.
  7. Ritzi MM, Abdelrahman W, van-Heerden K, Mohnl M, Barrett NW, Dalloul RA. Combination of probiotics and coccidiosis vaccine enhances protection against an Eimeria challenge. Veterinary Research 47:111. 2016.
  8. Pender CM, Kim S, Potter TD, Ritzi MM, Young M, Dalloul RA. Effects of in ovo supplementation of probiotics on performance and immunocompetence of broiler chicks to an Eimeria challenge. Beneficial Microbes 7:699-705. 2016.
  9. Park M, Kim S, Fetterer RH, Dalloul RA. Functional characterization of the turkey macrophage migration inhibitory factor. Developmental & Comparative Immunology 61:198-207. 2016.
  10. Diaz JAR, Kim WH, Fernandez CP, Jeong J, Afrin F, Lillehoj HS, Kim S, Kim S, Dalloul RA, Min W. Identification and expression analysis of duck interleukin-17D in Riemerella anatipestifer infection. Developmental & Comparative Immunology 61:190-197. 2016.
  11. Potter TD, Glover PK, Evans NP, Dalloul RA. Differential ex vivo responses of primary leukocytes from turkey pedigree lines to Salmonella Heidelberg. Poultry Science 95:364-369. 2016.
  12. Weintraut ML, Kim S, Dalloul RA, Wong EA. Expression of small intestinal nutrient transporters in embryonic and posthatch turkeys. Poultry Science 95:90-98. 2016.
  13. Yin H, Sumners LH, Dalloul RA, Miska KB, Fetterer RH, Jenkins MC, Zhu Q, Wong EA. Expression of an antimicrobial peptide, digestive enzymes and nutrient transporters in the intestine of E. praecox-infected chickens. Poultry Science 94:1521-1526. 2015.
  14. Cox CM, Dalloul RA. Immunomodulatory role of probiotics in poultry and potential in ovo application. Beneficial Microbes 6:45-52. 2015. 
  15. Lu T, Harper AF, Dibner JJ, Scheffler JM, Corl BA, Zhao J, Estienne MJ, Dalloul RA. Supplementing antioxidants to pigs fed diets high in oxidants: II. Effects on carcass characteristics, meat quality, and fatty acid profile. Journal of Animal Science 92:5464-5475. 2014.
  16. Lu T, Harper AF, Zhao J, Estienne MJ, Dalloul RA. Supplementing antioxidants to pigs fed diets high in oxidants: I. Effects on growth performance, liver function, and oxidative status. Journal of Animal Science 92:5455-5463. 2014.
  17. Ritzi MM, Abdelrahman W, Mohnl M, Dalloul RA. Effects of probiotics and application methods on performance and response of broiler chickens to an Eimeria challenge. Poultry Science 93:2772-2778. 2014. 
  18. Kim S, Cox CM, Jenkins MC, Fetterer RH, Miska KB, Dalloul RA. Both host and parasite MIF molecules bind to chicken macrophages via CD74 surface receptor. Developmental & Comparative Immunology 47:319-326. 2014.
  19. Lu T, Harper AF, Zhao J, Corl BA, LeRoith T, Dalloul RA.  Effects of a dietary antioxidant blend and vitamin E on fatty acid profile, liver function and inflammatory response in broiler chickens fed a diet high in oxidants. Poultry Science 93:1658-1666. 2014.
  20. Lu T, Harper AF, Zhao J, Dalloul RA.  Effects of a dietary antioxidant blend and vitamin E on growth performance, oxidative status, and meat quality in broiler chickens fed a diet high in oxidants. Poultry Science 93:1649-1657. 2014.
  21. Dalloul RA, Zimin AV, Settlage RE, Kim S, Reed KM.  Next generation sequencing strategies for characterizing the turkey genome. Poultry Science 93:479-484. 2014.
  22. Ma D, Gao M, Dalloul RA, Ge J, Ma C, Li J.  Protective effects of oral immunization with live Lactococcus lactis expressing Eimeria tenella 3-1E protein. Parasitology Research 112:4161-4167. 2013.
  23. Miska KB, Kim S, Fetterer RH, Dalloul RA, Jenkins MC.  Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor (MIF) of the protozoan parasite Eimeria influences components of the immune system of its host, the chicken. Parasitology Research 112:1935-1944. 2013.
  24. Kim S, Faris L, Cox CM, Sumners LH, Jenkins MC, Fetterer RH, Miska KB, Dalloul RA. 2012.  Molecular characterization and immunological roles of avian IL-22 and its soluble receptor IL-22 binding protein. Cytokine 60:815-827. 2012.
  25. Parra ZE, Mitchell K, Dalloul RA, Miller RD.  A second TCRδ locus in Galliformes uses antibody-like V domains: insight into the evolution of TCRδ and TCRµ genes in tetrapods. The Journal of Immunology 188:3912-3919. 2012.
  26. Sumners LH, Cox CM, Kim S, Salevsky JS, Siegel PB, Dalloul RA. Immunological responses to Clostridium perfringens alpha-toxin in two genetically divergent lines of chickens as influenced by major histocompatibility complex genotype. Poultry Science 91:592-603. 2012.
  27. Reed KM, Dalloul RA. The turkey genome sequence: implications for enhancing turkey biology.  In: Turkey production and Health: An Update. Proceedings of the 6th International Meeting of the Working Group 10 (Turkey) of WPSA (Ed. Hafez, H.M), Berlin. Mensch & Buch Verlag, Germany. ISBN 978-3-86387-094-2. Pp. 23-29. 2011.
  28. Dunnington EA, Dalloul RA, Siegel PB.  Genetics of immune response in chickens; 4. Viral and bacterial challenges. Animal Science Image Gallery. NAL 5151. 2011.
  29. Gilbert ER, Cox CM, Williams PA, McElroy AP, Dalloul RA, Barri A, Ray KA, Emmerson DA, Wong EA, Webb KE, Jr. Eimeria species and genetic background influence the serum protein profile of broilers with coccidiosis. PLoS One 6:e14636. 2011.
  30. Sumners LH, Miska KB, Jenkins MC, Fetterer RH, Cox CM, Kim S, Dalloul RA.  Expression of Toll-like receptors and antimicrobial peptides during Eimeria praecox infection in chickens.  Experimental Parasitology 127:714-718. 2011.
  31. Casterlow S, Li H, Gilbert ER, Dalloul RA, McElroy AP, Emmerson DA, Wong EA.  An antimicrobial peptide is downregulated in the small intestine of Eimeria maxima infected chickens.  Poultry Science 90:1212-1219. 2011.
  32. Cox CM, Dalloul RA. Beta-glucans in poultry: use and potential applications. Avian Biology Research 3:171-178. 2010.
  33. Cox CM, Sumners LH, Kim S, McElroy AP, Bedford MR, Dalloul RA.  Immune responses to dietary β-glucan in broiler chicks during an Eimeria challenge.  Poultry Science 89:2597-2607. 2010.
  34. Dalloul RA, Long JA, Zimin AV, Aslam L, Beal K, Blomberg LA, Bouffard P, Burt DW, Crasta O, Crooijmans RP, Cooper K, Coulombe RA, De S, Delany ME, Dodgson JB, Dong JJ, Evans C, Frederickson KM, Flicek P, Florea L, Folkerts O, Groenen MA, Harkins TT, Herrero J, Hoffmann S, Megens HJ, Jiang A, de Jong P, Kaiser P, Kim H, Kim KW, Kim S, Langenberger D, Lee MK, Lee T, Mane S, Marcais G, Marz M, McElroy AP, Modise T, Nefedov M, Notredame C, Paton IR, Payne WS, Pertea G, Prickett D, Puiu D, Qioa D, Raineri E, Ruffier M, Salzberg SL, Schatz MC, Scheuring C, Schmidt CJ, Schroeder S, Searle SM, Smith EJ, Smith J, Sonstegard TS, Stadler PF, Tafer H, Tu ZJ, Van Tassell CP, Vilella AJ, Williams KP, Yorke JA, Zhang L, Zhang HB, Zhang X, Zhang Y, Reed KM. Multi-platform Next Generation Sequencing of the domestic turkey (Meleagris gallopavo): genome assembly and analysis.  PLoS Biology 8:e1000475. 2010.
  35. Dunnington EA, Dalloul RA, Siegel PB. Genetics of immune response in chickens; 3. Alloantigen systems.  Animal Science Image Gallery.  NAL 5073. 2010.
  36. Dunnington EA, Dalloul RA, Siegel PB. Genetics of immune response in chickens; 2. Correlated responses to selection.  Animal Science Image Gallery.  NAL 5072. 2010.
  37. Dunnington EA, Dalloul RA, Siegel PB. Genetics of immune response in chickens; 1. The selection experiment.  Animal Science Image Gallery.  NAL 5071. 2010.
  38. Kim S, Fetterer RH, Jenkins MC, Miska KB, Cox CM, Dalloul RA.  Molecular cloning and functional characterization of the avian macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF).  Developmental & Comparative Immunology 34:1021-1032. 2010.
  39. Cox CM, Stuard LH, Kim S, McElroy AP, Bedford MR, Dalloul RA. Performance and immune responses to dietary beta-glucan in broiler chicks. Poultry Science 89:1924-1933. 2010.
  40. Kim S, Miska KB, McElroy AP, Fetterer RH, Jenkins MC, Cox CM, Stuard LH, Dalloul RA. Molecular cloning and functional characterization of avian interleukin-19. Molecular Immunology 47:476-484. 2009.
  41. Dalloul RA. Poultry coccidiosis: current prevention and control.  MEAP Poultry 197:70-72. 2007.

Myeongseon (Sunny) Park, PhD

Mallory White, MS

Duneia McManus, PREP Scholar

Dr. Islam Omara - Visiting Scientist (Cairo U., Egypt)

Dr. Shuabo Yang - Visiting Scholar (Jilin Agricultural U., China)

Paige Harmond, Undergraduate Researcher

Nisana Siman-Tov, Undergraduate Researcher

Sydney Smith, B2B Scholar & Undergraduate Researcher

Former Members (current positions)

Dr. Lindsay Sumners, MS & Lab Manager (R&D, Spectrum Brands)

Dr. Chasity Cox-Pender, MS & PhD (Technical Manager, BIOMIN America Inc.)

Dr. Jon Salevsky, MS (DVM, U. Pennsylvania)

Dr. Sungwon Kim, PhD & Postdoc (Research Fellow, Roslin Institute)

Dr. Laura Faris, Honors BS (DVM, Ohio State U.)

Dr. Jesus Alvelo-Maurosa, PREP Scholar (postdoc, MIT)

Treasure White, MAOP Intern (Cytogenetic FISH Technologist, LabCorp)

Melodie Weintraut, MS (Broiler Tech, Tyson)

Tiffany Potter, MS & Lab Manager (R&D, Spectrum Brands)

Miranda Ritzi, MS (DVM, VA-MD CVM)

Chris Ott, MS (Technical Operations, Merck)

Shaimaa Hamad, MS (Teaching Assistant, Cairo University)

Student Recruitment

If you are a highly motivated student and interested in avian immunology and poultry health, send a cover letter and resume to

    Rami Dalloul

  • (540) 231-0633
  • (540) 231-3010 (Fax)
  • (540) 231-0671 (Lab)
  • 3170 Litton-Reaves Hall
    Animal & Poultry Sciences
    Blacksburg, VA 24061-0306