Research Interests: neurovirology, neuroimmunology, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism
My laboratory is interested in the basic biology of parvovirus-brain-thyroid interactions. Parvoviruses are small DNA-containing viruses. We study two parvoviruses of human concern: 1) adeno-associated virus (AAV) which is not known to cause human disease, and 2) parvovirus B19 (B19) which causes multiple human disorders from benign to life-threatening conditions. There is some clinical evidence that B19 can infect the brain and thyroid and cause disease, but very little is known about this area. We are asking the questions of whether or not these viruses infect the brain and thyroid and at what point in development is the infection most likely to occur. We are also determining what factors enhance the ability of these viruses to infect brain and thyroid cells. Another area of interest in the lab is potential viral etiologies of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism. We have a large number of post-mortem human brain tissues for studies. Our studies utilize the following techniques: cell culture, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), RT-PCR, nested PCR, flow cytometry, and RNA/DNA analysis by agarose gel electrophoresis. There are a variety of projects that could be undertaken by undergraduate students.
Requirements: This position requires that the applicant pay attention to small details, be very organized and neat.
Time Commitment: 20 hours per week