Photo of Dr. Bess

Julian W. Bess, Jr., M.S.

Biological Products Core

SAIC-Frederick, Inc
Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research
Building 535, Suite 513
Frederick, MD 21702-1201

Tel: 301-846-5981
Fax: 301-846-5588


Mr. Julian Bess, Jr. received his B.S. in Biology from Virginia Tech in 1977 and his M.S. in Biomedical Sciences from Hood College in 1981. He began working at the (now) Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research in 1977 in the Viral Resources Laboratory and later trained in the Protein and Immunochemistry Laboratory directed by Dr. Steve Oroszlan. After receiving his M.S., he became the supervisor of the Biochemistry unit of the Biological Products Laboratory directed by Dr. Larry Arthur. In 1983 he began supervising both the Biochemistry and Production units which are now collectively known as the Biological Products Core of the AIDS and Cancer Virus Program.

Core Description

The Biological Products Core provides the AIDS research community with high quality purified preparations of various strains of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) economically prepared by leveraging the economy of scale. Lot sizes of up to 30L can be produced and purified. Materials provided include infectious virus or chemically inactivated virus prepared by treatment with Aldrithiol-2. This chemical inactivation method was developed by AIDS and Cancer Virus Program personnel and eliminates infectivity while preserving functional surface proteins including envelope glycoproteins, creating a reagent useful for experiments in which non-infectious, viral particles with authentic envelope glycoprotein structure are required. We also provide non-inactivated preparations of other retroviruses such as Human T-cell Leukemia Virus (HTLV), Murine Leukemia Virus (MuLV), and Equine Infectious Anemia Virus (EIAV). Since the T-cell lines used to propagate HIV and SIV also produce microvesicles (non-viral particles that bud from the cell surface) that can contaminate even highly purified retrovirus preparations, we also produce purified microvesicle preparations from non-infected cell lines for use as a “negative” control reagent matched to virus preparations of interest.

We also provide virus preparations on small scale (30ml to a few liters) to accommodate the needs of researchers who require smaller amounts of virus. We prepare these in a variety of formats including: infectious, chemically inactivated (Aldrithiol-2, NEM, and others), or fluorescently labeled. In cases of mutual interest between the AIDS and Cancer Virus Program and requesting laboratories, we can produce and purify your particular HIV or SIV with the aim of not only supporting your research project(s), but also eventually making the virus available to the AIDS research community in general. This can be initiated from your productively infected cell line or, as is often the case, we can derive infected cell lines or cell clones starting with your infectious stock or infectious molecular clone containing plasmid.

The Biological Products Core also provides reagents used for an in house developed HIV-1 p24 antigen capture immunoassay, originally developed to monitor virus yields from our production cultures or infectivity assays. These reagents include: the capture antibody (purified mAb against HIV-1 p24), detect antibody (polyclonal anti-HIV-1 p24), and p24 standard (detergent disrupted HIV-1 with a known p24 concentration), We also supply protocols describing how we optimize the amount of the key antibody reagents used and perform antigen capture immunoassays. We have several decades of experience with this assay and can assist you in implementing this assay.

Our main objective is to provide the AIDS research community access to the biological products, most of which are unique, that we efficiently produce. Most of these can be obtained through a simple Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) between the requesting laboratory and the National Cancer Institute which we will assist you in requesting. Please contact us if you feel we can be of assistance in your research.


  1. Felts RL, Narayan K, Estes JD, Shi D, Trubey CM, Fu J, Hartnell LM, Ruthel GT, Schneider DK, Nagashima K, Bess JW Jr, Bavari S, Lowekamp BC, Bliss D, Lifson JD, Subramaniam S: 3D visualization of HIV transfer at the virological synapse between dendritic cells and T-cells. PNAS 107(3):13336-13341, 2010. Epub 2010 Jul 12. PMID: 206224966.
  2. Gherghe C, Lombo R, Leonard CW, Datta SAK, Bess JW Jr, Gorelick RJ, Rein A, Weeks KM: Definition of a high-affinity gag recognition structure mediating packaging of a retroviral RNA genome. PNAS 107(45):19248-53, 2010. Epub 2010 Oct 25. PMID: 20974908
  3. White TA, Bartesaghi A, Borgnia MJ, Meyerson JR, de la Cruz MJ, Bess JW, Nandwani R, Hoxie JA, Lifson JD, Milne JL, Subramaniam S: Molecular architectures of trimeric SIV and HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins on intact viruses: strain-dependent variation in quaternary structure. PLoS Pathog 6(12):e1001249, 2010. PMID: 21203482
  4. Trapp S, Derby NR, Singer R, Shaw A, Williams VG, Turville SG, Bess JWJr, Lifson JD, Robbiani M: Double-stranded RNA analog poly(l:C) inhibits HIV amplification in dendritic cells via type 1 IFN-mediated activation of APOBEC3G. J Virol 83:884-895, 2009.
  5. Krishnamoorthy L, Bess JWJr, Preston AB, Nagashima K, Mahal LK: HIV-1 and microvesicles from T cells share a common glycome, arguing for a common origin. Nat Chem Biol 5:244-250, 2009.
  6. Watts JM, Dang KK, Gorelick RJ, Leonard CW, Bess JWJr, Swanstrom R, Burch CL, Weeks KM: The structure of an entire HIV-1 RNA genome. Nature 460:711-716, 2009.
  7. Vagenas P, Williams VG, Piatak M Jr, Bess JW Jr, Lifson JD, Blanchard JL, Gettie A, Robbiani M: Tonsillar application of AT-2 SIV affords partial protection against rectal challenge with SIVmac239. JAIDS 52(4):433-442, 2009. PMID: 19779309.
  8. Frank I, Stossel H, Getti A, Turville SG, Bess J, Lifson JD, Sivin L, Romani N, Robbiani M: A fusion inhibitor prevents spread of immunodeficiency viruses, but not activation of virus-specific T cells, by dendritic cells. J Virol 82:5329-5339, 2008.
  9. Vachot L, Williams VG, Bess JW, Lifson JD, Robbiani M: Candida albicans-induced DC activation partially restricts HIV amplification in DCs and increases DC to T-cell spread of HIV. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 48:398-407, 2008.
  10. Turville SG, Aravantinou M, Miller T, Kenney J, Teitelbaum A, Hu L, Chudolij A, Zydowsky TM, Piatak MJr, Bess JWJr, Lifson JD, Blanchard J, Gettie A, Robbiani M: Efficacy of Carraguard-based microbicides in vivo despite variable in vitro activity. PLoS ONE 3:e162, 2008.
  11. Rutebemberwa A, Bess JW, Brown B, Arroyo M, Eller M, Slike B, Polonis V, McCutchan F, Currier JR, Birx D, Robb M, Marovich M, Lifson JD, Cox JH: Evaluation of aldrithiol-2-inactivated preparations of HIV type 1 subtypes A, B, and D as reagents to monitor T cell responses. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 23:532-542, 2007.
  12. Sougrat R, Bartesaghi A, Lifson JD, Bennett AE, Bess JW, Zabransky DJ, Subramaniam S: Electron tomography of the contact between T-cells and SIV/HIV-1: Implications for viral entry. PLOS Pathogens 3:e63, 2007.
  13. Chertova E, Chertov O, Coren LV, Roser JD, Trubey CM, Bess JW, Sowder RC, Barsov E, Hood BL, Fisher RJ, Nagashima K, Conrads TP, Veenstra TD, Lifson JD, Ott DE: Proteomic and biochemical analysis of purified HIV-1 produced from infected monocyte-derived macrophages. J Virol 80:9039-9052, 2006.
  14. Zhu P, Liu J, Bess J, Chertova E, Lifson JD, Grise H, Ofek GA, Taylor KA, Roux KH. Distribution and three-dimensional structure of AIDS virus envelope spikes. Nature 441:847-852, 2006.
  15. Morcock DR, Thomas JA, Gagliardi TD, Gorelick RJ, Roser D, Chertova EN, Bess JWJr, Ott DE, Sattentau QJ, Frank I, Pope M, Lifson JD, Henderson LE, Crise BJ: Elimination of retroviral infectivity by N-ethylmaleimide with preservation of functional envelope glycoproteins. J Virol 79:1533-1542, 2005.
  16. Cline AN, Bess JW, Piatak M, Lifson JD: Highly sensitive SIV plasma viral load assay: Practical considerations and realistic performance expectations, and application to reverse engineering of vaccine for AIDS. J Med Primatology 34:303-312, 2005.
  17. Raviv Y, Viard M, Bess JW, Chertova E, Blumenthal R: Inactivation of retrovirus with preservation of structural integrity by targeting the hydrophobic domain of the viral envelope. J Virol 79:12394-12400, 2005.
  18. Banks WA, Kumar VB, Franko MW, Bess JW, Arthur LO: Evidence that the species barrier of HIV-1 does not extend to uptake by the blood-brain barrier: Comparison of mouse and human brain microvessels. Life Sciences 77:2361-2368, 2005.


  • Rodman Smith, Manager, Sr. Tech. Operations
  • Terra M. Ireland, Research Associate II
  • David B. Westcott, Research Associate II
  • Dana M. Randall, Research Associate I