Richard Allen White III, Ph.D.

Image of Richard Allen White III, Ph.D.
NC Research Campus 3337

Richard Allen White III, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Dr. Richard Allen White III is a computational and synthetic molecular virologist who unravels the ‘virosphere,’ the totality of viruses, and their biosphere interactions. He has a toolkit of knowledge that includes multi-omics (measuring DNA/RNA with NextGen Sequencing, protein/lipids/metabolites with Mass Spectrometry), computational methods, and synthetic biology elucidate the virosphere.

The bedrock of his work is how “viral lifestyles,’ (i.e., whether lytic or lysogenic) in bacteriophage (viruses that infect bacteria) impacts the ‘guts’ of humans, plants (e.g., the rhizosphere), and modern microbialites. He has recently returned to his roots of molecular virology of human viruses by tackling COVID-19 and other RNA viruses (e.g., Influenza and Henipavirus) by targeting replication mechanisms with novel protein-based therapies. The goal of the work is to produce universal antivirals for RNA viruses in humans and animals. As well as my lab (the RAW lab) will tackle multidrug-resistant bacteria using bacteriophage therapy.

‘The goal of our work is to make COVID-19 the last pandemic and stop the next major health crisis of multidrug-resistant bacteria.’


  • B.S. Cellular and Molecular Biology – California State University – East Bay (formally Hayward)
  • M.S. Biology (Molecular Virology) – California State University – East Bay (formally Hayward)
  • Ph.D. Microbiology and Immunology – University of British Columbia
  • Postdoctoral Computational biology – Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL)
  • Multiomics (Next Generation Sequencing/Mass Spectrometry)
  • Virology
  • De novo assembly (complex metagenomes/large genomes)
  • Novel antivirals and antibiotics
  • Bacteriophage therapy

Model systems:

  • Microbialites/stromatolites
  • Human virome
  • Rhizosphere

Selected publications:

  • White III RA, Visscher PT, Burns BP. Between a Rock and a Soft Place: The Role of Viruses in Lithification of Modern Microbial Mats. 2020 Trends of Microbiology.
  • White III RA, Wong HL, Ruvindy R, Neilan BA, Burns BP. Viral Communities of Shark Bay Modern Stromatolites. 2018. Front Microbiol. 9:1223. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.01223.
  • White III RA, Gavelis GS, Soles S, Gosselin E, Leander BL, Brady A, Slater GF, Lim DS, Suttle CA. 2019. The complete genome and physiological analysis of the eurythermal firmicute Exiguobacterium chiriqhuchastrain RW2 isolated from a freshwater microbialite, widely adaptable to broad thermal, pH and salinity ranges. Front Microbiol.10.3389/fmicb.2018.03189
  • White III RA, Borkum MI, Rivas-Ubach A, Bilbao A, Wendler JP, Colby SM, K ̈oberl M, Jansson C. 2017. From data to knowledge: The future of multi-omics data analysis for the rhizosphere. Rhizosphere. 3:222-229.
  • White III RA, Rivas-Ubach A, Borkum MI, Koberl M, Bilbao A, Colby SM, Hoyt DW, Bingol K, Kim YM, Wendler JP, Hixson KK, Jansson C. 2017. The state of rhizospheric science in the era of multi-omics: A practical guide to omics technologies. Rhizosphere. 3:212-221.
  • White III RA, Brown J, Colby S, Overall CC, Lee J, Zucker J,Glaesemann KR, Jansson C, Jansson JK. 2017. ATLAS (Automatic Toolfor Local Assembly Structures) a comprehensive infrastructure for assembly, annotation, and genomic binning of metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data. PeerJ Preprints. 5:e2843v1.
  • White III RA, Callister SJ, Baker ES, Jansson JK. 2016. A glance at past, present and future microbiome analysis technologies and studies.Nature Protocols 11, 2049-2053.
  • White III RA, Quake SR, Curr K. 2012. Digital PCR provides absolute quantitation of viral load for an occult RNA virus. J Virol Methods. 179, 45-50. https://doi:10.1016/j.jviromet.2011.09.017.
  • White III RA, Blainey P, Fan CH, Quake SR. 2009. Digital PCR provides sensitive and absolute calibration for high throughput sequencing. BMC Genomics. 10, 116 https://10.1186/1471-2164-10-11