Robert P. Chervenak, Ph.D.

Professor

Contact Information:

Email: rcherv@lsuhsc.edu
Office Phone: 318-675-5755
Laboratory Phone: 318-675-7568
Office Fax: 318-675-5764

Education/Training:

Postdoctoral Study, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Ph.D., Radiation Biology, 1980, University of Tennessee
B.S., Biology, 1973, Rutgers University

Major Research Interests:

T Lymphocyte Development and Immune Regulation

Immune responses to foreign or non-self substances such as pathogenic organisms, tumors and transplanted tissues are the result of very complex and highly regulated interactions between a number of different cell types.  Perhaps the most important and unique of these cells are the T lymphocytes, which are able to carry out specific immune responses themselves and to control, in both positive and negative ways, the responses of the other cells involved in immunity.  They are able to do this because they express cell surface antigen receptors which are able to "recognize" foreign substances.  Although they are genetically capable of expressing antigen receptors which would recognize self components, those T cells which do so are eliminated during their development. The overall goal of our research effort is to unravel the steps involved in the maturation and differentiation of T cells from uncommitted stem cells to mature, functional cells.  We are presently approaching this question by using molecular, cellular and flow cytometric techniques to evaluate the passage of pre-T cells from one state of differentiation to the next.

We have developed a unique approach to the identification and analysis of developing progenitor cells, based upon their expression of key mRNA species.  This approach involves the generation of transgenic mice that express variants of the green fluorescent protein (GFP) under the control of the promoter and/or enhancer sequences that control the expression of genes crucial to the proper development of T cells.  With this technique, we are able to identify, isolate and characterize viable cells by virtue of their transcriptional activity.  These studies are now providing us with the information necessary to specifically manipulate the process of T cell development so that we can understand how the T cell arm of the immune system is able to tell what is self from what is non-self.

Representative Publications:

Norris, Hillary H., Lybarger, Lonnie P., Martin, Aaron J., Andersen, Hanne, Chervenak, Deborah C., Chervenak Robert. 2003. Apr; TCR beta enhancer activation occurs in some but not all cells with T cell lineage developmental potential. Cell Immunol. 222(2):164-74.

Kassim, SH, Rajasagi, NK, Zhao, X, Chervenak, R., and Jennings, SR.  2006.  In vivo ablation of CD11c-positive dendritic cells increases susceptibility to herpes simplex virus type 1 infection and diminishes NK and T-cell responses.  Journal of Virology, Apr:80(8): 3985-3993.

Wang, H, Zhou, H, Moscatello, KM, Dixon, C, Brunson, LE, Chervenak, R. Chervenak, DC, Zhao, X, and Wolcott, RM. 2006.  In utero exposure to alcohol alters cell fate decisions by hematopoietic progenitors in the bone marrow of offspring mice during neonatal development.  Cellular Immunology, 239:75-85.

Norris, HH., Martin, AJ., Lybarger, LP., Andersen, H., Chervenak, D., and Chervenak, R. 2007. TCR-beta enhancer activation in early and late lymphoid progenitors.  Cellular Immunology, 247:59-71.

Wang H., Zhou H., Chervenak R., Moscatello KM., Brunson LE., Chervenak DC., Wolcott RMl. 2009. Ethanol exhibits specificity in its effects on differentiation of hematopoietic progenitors. Cellular Immunology, 255(1-2):1-7.

Kassim, SH., Rajasagi, NK., Ritz, BW., Pruett, SB., Grdner, EM., Chervenak, R., and Jennings, SR. 2009.  Dendritic cells are required for optimal activation of natural killer functions following primary infection with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1).  J. Virol. 83: 3175-3186.

Alexander, JS., Chervenak, R., Weinstock-Guttman, B., Tsunoda, I., Ramanathan, M., Martinez, N., Omura, S., Sato, F., Chaitanya, GV., Minagar, A., Jennings, MH., Monceaux, C., Becker, F., Cvek, U., Trutschl, M., and Zivadinov, R. 2015 Blood microparticle species in relapsing-remitting and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.  A case-controlled, cross sectional study with conventional MRI and advanced iron content imaging outcomes.  J. Neurological Sciences, In Press.

All Publications: PubMed