Herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) infection occurs typically during early childhood, and more than 50% of the adult population in the United States is seropositive for HSV-1 infection. Currently, there are no effective vaccines against HSV-1 infection. Once infected, the virus establishes latency in the neuronal cell body. Active immune surveillance plays an essential role in establishing, maintaining, and preventing the reactivation of latent HSV-1 infection. However, under stressful conditions, the virus gets reactivated, and traffic via sensory nerves to the peripheral sites, such as the front part of the eye called the cornea. Recurrent HSV-1 infection of the cornea results in the development of herpes stromal keratitis (HSK). The latter is a chronic inflammatory condition that can cause vision loss and blindness. Our lab’s research is focused on understanding the immunopathogenesis of HSK and the involvement of neuro-immune interactions in regulating the latency of HSV-1 infection. We are also exploring novel ways to design an effective HSV-1 vaccine with a focus on building a strong pool of good quality virus-specific memory cells
Awards & Honors
- Invited to participate as a speaker in the neuro-immune interactions session of National Eye Institute (NEI)/NIH workshop on “Inflammation in the Anterior segment”, 2021
- Invited to deliver a Visiting Professor lecture at the Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology’s Cornea Center of Excellence, 2021
- Invited to participate in ARVO advance expert session on the topic of “Practical advice for non-US trained vision scientists working in the US”, 2021
- Invited speaker at Ocular Immunology: Fundamentals, disease entities, and future therapeutic opportunities session held at Annual ARVO meeting in Vancouver, BC, Canada, 2019
- Symposium speaker at XXIII Biennial meeting of International Society of Eye research (ISER) held at Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, 2018
- Invited Plenary Speaker at 45th Indian Immunology Society meeting held in Faridabad (near Delhi) in INDIA, 2018
- Invited speaker at 30th Biennial Cornea Conference organized by Harvard Medical School and held at Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, 2017
- Received - Faculty Recognition award" for Research at Oakland University, 2014
Development of novel therapeutic approaches in improving herpes stromal keratitis: We recently showed the occurrence of hypoxia in HSK lesions. Currently, we are looking at the role of hypoxia-associated genes in regulating the severity of HSK lesions. The focus is to find novel targets in HSK lesions, whose manipulation can reduce the severity of virus-induced corneal inflammation.
The role of neuro-immune interactions in regulating herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) latency: HSV-1 establishes latency in neurons, and active immune surveillance helps maintain the latent infection. We are exploring the significance of neuro-immune interaction in establishing, maintaining, and reactivating latent HSV-1 infection.
The Use of novel adjuvants in developing an effective vaccine against HSV infection: Currently, there is no effective vaccine against HSV-1 and HSV-2. The concept of vaccines is based on the generation of good quality and quantity of memory T and B cells. We are exploring the novel ways to enhance HSV-1 specific memory cells in the quest to develop an effective vaccine against HSV infection.
Links of Interest
- Gaddipati S, Estrada K, Rao P, Jerome A and Suvas S (2015). IL-2/anti-IL-2 complex treatment inhibits the development but not the progression of herpetic stromal keratitis. J Immunol. 194 (1): 273-82.
- Alazabi FA, Zohdy, MA and Suvas S (2013). Parameter estimation from experimental laboratory data of HSV-1 by using alternative regression method. Systems and Synthetic Biology. 7(14): 151-60.
- Channappanavar R, Twardy BS and Suvas S (2012). Blocking of PDL-1 interaction enhances primary and secondary CD8 T cell response to herpes simplex virus-1 infection. PLoS One. 7(7): e39757.
- Twardy BS, Channappanavar R, Suvas S (2011). Substance P in the corneal stroma regulates the severity of herpetic stromal keratitis lesions. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 4; 52(12): 8604-13.
- Channappanavar R, Twardy BS, Krishna P and Suvas S (2009). Advancing age leads to predominance of inhibitory receptor expressing CD4 T cells. Mech Ageing Dev 130 (10): 709-12.
- Susmit Suvas (2008). Advancing age and immune cell dysfunction: is it reversible or not? Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy 8 (5): 657-68.