Ph.D. in Virology, Baylor College of Medicine, 1978
Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, Cellular, Molecular Biology and Physiology, Molecular Genetics / Neuro-Biology, Ocular Virology and Immunology
My NIH-funded research program focuses on the pathogenesis of retinal diseases and neurological diseases of herpesvirus origin with emphasis on human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1). This pursuit involves comprehensive investigations of the virologic, immunologic, and pathogenic events that cause inflammation, tissue pathology, and clinical disease in retina and brain with the goal of developing new paradigms of disease pathogenesis for better diagnosis and management of herpesvirus-associated retinitis and encephalitis.
After specialized postdoctoral training in neurovirology in the Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco (neurovirulence of HSV1 strains and herpes simplex encephalitis) and HIV/AIDS at San Francisco General Hospital (AIDS-related neurologic diseases), I joined the faculty of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Florida, where I collaborated with ophthalmologists on clinical cases of acute retinal necrosis and explored the pathogenesis of HSV1 retinal necrosis using established mouse models of the disease. I also established an independent National Eye Institute-funded research program to investigate the pathogenesis of AIDS-related HCMV retinitis through development of a novel animal model of murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) retinitis in mice with retrovirus-induced immunosuppression (MAIDS) that mimics AIDS-related HCMV retinitis in humans. This research program has served for many years to provide unique findings on the virology, immunology, and pathogenesis of MAIDS-related MCMV retinitis and remains viable today as a cornerstone of my research program at the Viral Immunology Center and Department of Biological Sciences at Georgia State University (GSU).
Recently, my research portfolio has expanded to include studies on how programmed cell death (PCD) pathways (apoptosis, necroptosis, pyroptosis, and parthanatos) individually or collectively contribute to the onset and evolution of MCMV retinitis during MAIDS. This work has also led to the development of a new mouse model to investigate the pathogenesis of HSV1-induced progressive outer retinal necrosis and subclinical HSV1 encephalitis in HIV-immunosuppressed persons as well as the roles of PCD pathways during the pathogenesis of herpes simplex encephalitis in immunologically normal hosts. My research program at GSU has been greatly enhanced through an Adjunct Professor appointment in the Department of Ophthalmology, Emory Eye Center, Emory University School of Medicine that allows me to interact with physician/scientists and other researchers of the Atlanta Vision Research Community on a weekly basis.