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Oklahoma State University

Dr. Clinton Jones on INTERACT

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Dr. Clinton Jones

Clinton Jones, Ph.D., is a Regents Professor and the Sitlington Chair in Infectious Diseases in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology at Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“I think people need to know that the Institute for Translational and Emerging Research in Advanced Comparative Therapy or INTERACT is designed to foster collaboration between clinical scientists and basic researchers,” Jones said. “Also, INTERACT is designed to promote the One Health concept which is basically if you learn fundamental information in an animal disease, it directly applies to human disease.

“I’m a member of INTERACT and serve on a committee that’s organizing the first symposium for INTERACT which will include a Nobel Lauriat presentation. Our short-term goal is to get this symposium organized so that it goes smoothly. Our long-term goal is to get the clinical science people in the veterinary hospital enthusiastic about collaborating with basic research people.

“We actually work on two herpes viruses—bovine herpes virus 1 and herpes simplex virus type 1. When cattle get infected with bovine herpes virus 1, it suppresses the immune system and erodes the respiratory tract, which allows bacterial pathogens to get into the lungs and cause pneumonia. This disease is a significant problem in the cattle industry. We’ve learned a lot of basic information about how this virus colonizes the nervous system and establishes a life-long latent infection. Bovine herpes virus is very sensitive to stressful changes. This causes the virus to reactivate from latency, start making virus and shedding virus from the host, which is the way the virus is transmitted.

“Herpes simplex virus type 1 is a big problem in humans, causing recurrent eye disease. It is also responsible for cases of encephalitis, a serious, if not fatal, brain disease. We’ve applied what we’ve learned about bovine herpes virus to herpes simplex virus and found that the key genes that regulate viral gene expression in herpes simplex virus are triggered by stressful stimuli. These two viruses have similar pathways that lead to reactivation from latency.  

“We’ve interacted with several people in the veterinary college to help with our research. Dr. Jerry Ritchey has helped with our calf studies quite a bit especially necropsying animals and collecting tissues. We’re also actively collaborating with Dr. Madhan Subramanian, who is a very well trained neurobiologist. We’re working with him on the impact of neuro-inflammation and neurodegeneration in the nervous system after infection with herpes simplex.

“Bovine herpes virus is estimated to have a half billion dollar a year direct impact on the cattle industry and about a $5 billion a year indirect effect on the cattle industry. Approximately half a million people in the United States suffer from recurrent eye disease caused by herpes simplex and about 3,000 contract encephalitis every year. Both of these viruses are persistent and chronic problems in their respective hosts, which makes our research projects important to both groups.”

The Institute for Translational and Emerging Research in Advanced Comparative Therapy (INTERACT) aims to fulfill One Health research by conducting parallel investigations in both humans and animals. INTERACT promotes interdisciplinary research within the veterinary college, across the OSU campus and throughout the state and nation by developing and translating discoveries into therapies for patients. INTERACT has faculty participants from almost all OSU colleges, industry experts, foundation partners, and personnel from other academic institutions around the country. For more information, visit INTERACT or contact interact@okstate.edu.

MEDIA CONTACT: Derinda Blakeney, APR | OSU College of Veterinary Medicine | 405-744-6740 | derinda@okstate.edu

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