I currently serve as a Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. Throughout the course of my research career, I have had the privilege to advice 56 trainees, ranging from undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and junior faculty members.
As a graduate student and postdoctoral researcher, I spent eight years studying herpes viral replication and egress. Since then, I have devoted the last 17 years developing antibody-based diagnostics and therapeutics for infectious diseases. Specifically, one of my areas of focus is targeting secreted microbial antigens for diagnosis. Secreted antigens make ideal targets for direct detection and diagnosis of acute microbial infections. My laboratory has developed novel strategies that have allowed for the identification of secreted/shed antigens or “biomarkers”. Following identification of candidate biomarkers, large panels of high affinity monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are generated and selection of optimal pairs for capture and detection is performed. The panels of mAbs are fully evaluated by determining subclass/subtype, affinity, and binding characteristics. Some of the current projects in my laboratory include development prototype diagnostics for melioidosis, Lyme disease, leptospirosis, Rift Valley fever, tularemia, viral hepatitis, and Ebola virus disease. Each of these projects involves identification of biomarkers secreted or expressed by each microbe and development of mAb libraries targeting each biomarker. Total funding to my laboratory over the previous 10 years has totaled roughly $12M, mainly from the National Institute of Health and the Department of Defense. Throughout the course of my research career, I have had the privilege to advice 56 trainees, ranging from undergraduates though post-doctoral fellows.