Eva Rakasz

Associate Scientist


Eva Rakasz

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Contact Information:

Curriculum Vitae and Biosketch:

Other web pages:

Aligned research focus:

Infectious diseases, use of nonhuman primates in AIDS vaccine research and pathogenesis

Organ system/disease focus:

Immune system

Research description:

As seen in HIV infection, the rate of disease progression during SIV infection of nonhuman primates displays wide differences. I use the SIVmac239 infected Indian rhesus macaque model to see whether variance in the composition of infected cell populations can explain these differences. Recently, I established a flow cytometric method that enables investigators to visualize productively infected cells directly. I found that rapid progressor animals have infected cells that exhibit more pronounced MHC-I downregulation than the infected cells from normal progressors. I also found that naïve T cells become infected in the acute phase of infection, and the progressive destruction of this population may play a so far underappreciated role in the pathogenesis. Better understanding the dependence of viral proliferation on available target cells may facilitate the design of better medical intervention strategies to control viremia and the inevitable impairment of the immune system.

Selected references:

Budde, M.L., Lhost, J.J., Dudley, D.M., Rakasz, E.G., and D.H. O’Connor Integrin α4β7 is down-regulated on the surfaces of SIVmac239 infected cells. J. Virol. 2010. 84(13): 6344-6351.

Friedrich, T.C., Piaskowski, S.M., Furlott, J.R., S.M., Leon, E.J., Maness, N.J., Weisgrau, K.L., Weinfurter, J., Weiler, A.M., Mac Nair, C., Reynolds, M.R., Wilson, N.A., and Rakasz, E.G. High viremia is associated with high levels of in vivo MHC-I down-regulation in Rhesus macaques infected with SIVmac239. J. Virol. 2010. 84(10): 5443-5447.

Reynolds, M.R., Piaskowski, S.M., Weisgrau, K.L., Weiler, A.M., Friedrich, T.C., and E.G. Rakasz. Ex Vivo Analysis of SIV infected cells by Flow cytometry. Cytometry part A. 2010. 77(11): 1059-1066.