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Douglas M. Durrant

Douglas Durrant’s research is focused on how immune responses are regulated within the central nervous system (CNS) during viral encephalitis. He is particularly interested in the role of dendritic cells (DCs), a specific type of immune cell, in regulating viral clearance and repair within the brain during viral encephalitis. To clarify the role of these cells, his lab currently studies West Nile virus, a neurotropic flavivirus, which has emerged as a significant cause of neuronal injury and inflammation in humans that can potentially result in death. Therefore, rapid, yet tightly controlled responses that restrict viral spread while limiting tissue damage within the brain are essential. In the brain, DCs are generally found within an area where they can effectively govern which immune cells enter the CNS and what effector functions they will be armed with to clear the virus while protecting neuronal cells from any undue damage.

Currently, his laboratory is interested in a specific DC subset that expresses the DEC-205 receptor which has been shown to have a role in priming anti-viral immune responses within the periphery, yet little work has been done to see if these cells have a role within the CNS during neurotropic viral infections. Their hypothesis is that these cells play a critical role in providing protection during WNV encephalitis. In addition, they hope to target the DEC-205 receptor with a hybrid antibody that carries WNV peptide to boost immunity during WNV encephalitis. Ultimately, this research will provide clarification as to how virus infection within the CNS can be resolved with minimal neuronal damage, which can be applicable for new therapeutic strategies to reduce neurological disease caused by WNV as well as other neurotropic viruses.

Recent Grants and Fellowships:

  • Miltenyi Biotech, MACSQuant Grant Award, $32,500 credit towards the purchase of the MACSQuant instrument, 2016
  • Cal Poly Pomona Provost’s Office and the CSU Chancellor’s Office, Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activities Grant, “Intracerebral DEC-205+ DCs modulate immuno-stimulatory responses in the CNS during WNV encephalitis,” $5,000, 2016
  • Washington University School of Medicine, Infectious Disease/Mechanisms of Microbial Pathogenesis Training Grant (#T32 AI00717), 2010
  • Albany Medical College, Pre-doctoral NRSA Grant on Immunology and Microbial Disease (#T32 AI49822), 2006-2008

Selected Publications:

  • With S. Ghosh and R.S. Klein,  “The Olfactory Bulb: An Immunosensory Effector Organ during Neurotropic Viral Infections,” ACS Chem Neurosci. Apr 20;7(4):464-9, 2016
  • With B.P. Daniels, T. Pasieka, D. Dorsey, and R.S. Klein,” CCR5 limits cortical viral loads during West Nile virus infection of the central nervous system,” J Neuroinflammation. Dec 15;12:233, 2015
  • J.L. Williams, B.P. Daniels and R.S. Klein, “Chemokines referee inflammation within the central nervous system during infection and disease,” Adv Med. Sept 30 vol. 2014. Review, 2014
  • With B.P. Daniels and R.S. Klein, “IL-R1 signaling regulates CXCL12-mediated T cell localization and fate within the central nervous system during West Nile Virus encephalitis,” J Immunol. Oct 15;193(8):4095-106, 2014
  • With M.L.  Robinette and R.S. Klein, “IL-1R1 is required for dendritic cell-mediated T cell reactivation within the CNS during West Nile Virus encephalitis,” J Exp Med. Mar 11;210(3):503-16, 2013
  • With R.S. Klein, “Chemokines and viral infections of the CNS,” Encephalitis, 2011


B.S., Cell/Cellular and Molecular Biology, Utah State University

Ph.D., Immunology, Albany Medical College


English, limited Hungarian

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