Samuel L. Díaz-Muñoz

Samuel Díaz-Muñoz

Position Title
Assistant Professor

  • Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
  • Genome Center
255 Briggs Hall

Profile Introduction

We study the social lives of viruses. Viruses frequently infect the same host, leading to conflicts of interest over host resources. Viruses can evolve strategies to contend with co-infecting viruses, ranging from exploiting other viruses to synergistically interacting to increase their reproduction. Our research focuses on the evolution, ecology, and molecular mechanisms of these virus-virus interactions using genomics, experimental evolution, and environmental microbiology.

Research Interests

Genetic Exchange in Segmented RNA Viruses

The lab currently works on genetic exchange in two segmented RNA viruses: Cystovirus phages that infect Pseudomonas bacteria and influenza A viruses. The genome of these viruses is divided into segments. Viruses can swap their segments while reproducing within a cell, a process called reassortment. Reassortment is an important factor in determining the capacity to infect new hosts, evade immune responses or vaccines, and adapt to new environments.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Integrative Genetics and Genomics

Honors and Awards

  • NIH Pathway to Independence Fellow (K99/R00) 2016-2017
  • UC Berkeley Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellowship 2013-2014
  • NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology 2010-2013
  • University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined) 2010
  • National Academies Ford Predoctoral Fellowship 2004-2009
  • NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant 2006

    Professional Societies

    • American Society for Microbiology
    • International Society for Viruses of Microorganisms
    • Society for the Study of Evolution


    Wilcox AH, Delwart E, Diaz Munoz SL (in review) Next-generation sequencing of double stranded RNA is greatly improved by treatment with the inexpensive denaturing reagent DMSO 5:(11).

    Edwards RA, & co-authors incl Diaz Munoz SL (2019) Global phylogeography and ancient evolution of the widespread human gut virus crAssphage Nature Microbiology 4: 1727–1736

    Diaz Munoz SL (2019) Uncovering Virus-Virus Interactions by Unifying Approaches and Harnessing High-Throughput Tools mSystems 4(3): e00121-19.

    Tucker MA, & 100+ co-authors incl Diaz Munoz SL (2018) Moving in the Anthropocene: Global reductions in terrestrial mammalian movements Science 359(6374): 466-469.

    Díaz-Muñoz SL, Sanjuán R, West S. (2017) Sociovirology: Conflict, Cooperation, and Communication among Viruses. Cell Host & Microbe 22(4):437-441.

    Díaz-Muñoz SL. (2017) Viral coinfection is shaped by host ecology and virus-virus interactions across diverse microbial taxa and environments. Virus Evolution 3(1):vex011.

    Díaz-Muñoz SL, Boddy AM, Dantas G, Waters CM, Bronstein JL. (2016) Contextual organismality: Beyond pattern to process in the emergence of organisms. Evolution; international journal of organic evolution 70(12):2669-2677.

    Díaz-Muñoz SL, Koskella B. (2014) Bacteria-phage interactions in natural environments. Advances in Applied Microbiology 89:135-83.

    Díaz-Muñoz SL, Tenaillon O, Goldhill D, Brao K, Turner PE, Chao L. (2013) Electrophoretic mobility confirms reassortment bias among geographic isolates of segmented RNA phages. BMC Evolutionary Biology 13:206.

    Guerrero-Medina G, Feliú-Mójer M, González-Espada W, Díaz-Muñoz G, López M, Díaz-Muñoz SL, Fortis-Santiago Y, Flores-Otero J, Craig D, Colón-Ramos DA. (2013) Supporting diversity in science through social networking. PLoS Biology 11(12):e1001740.

    Díaz-Muñoz SL. (2016) Complex cooperative breeders: Using infant care costs to explain variability in callitrichine social and reproductive behavior. American Journal of Primatology 78(3):372-87.

    Díaz-Muñoz SL, Bales KL. (2016) "Monogamy" in Primates: Variability, Trends, and Synthesis: Introduction to special issue on Primate Monogamy. American Journal of Primatology 78(3):283-7.

    Díaz-Muñoz SL, Ribeiro AM. (2014) No sex-biased dispersal in a primate with an uncommon social system-cooperative polyandry. PeerJ 2:e640.

    Díaz-Muñoz SL. (2012) Role of recent and old riverine barriers in fine-scale population genetic structure of Geoffroy's tamarin (Saguinus geoffroyi) in the Panama Canal watershed. Ecology and Evolution 2(2):298-309.

    Calisi RM, Díaz-Muñoz SL, Wingfield JC, Bentley GE. (2011) Social and breeding status are associated with the expression of GnIH. Genes, Brain, and Behavior 10(5):557-64.