Understanding the pathogenesis of a virus-induced demyelinating disease in human brain

JC polyomavirus (JCPyV) infects more than 50 percent of the human population worldwide. The virus is harbored asymptomatically in the urogenital system, but in immunosuppressed or immunomodulated patients it reactivates, infecting and destroying oligodendrocytes in the brain. The result is a rapidly progressing, debilitating, and often fatal demyelinating disease known as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).

Professors Walter Atwood and Sheila Haley are leading research to understand how expression of specific virus receptors leads to brain invasion and infection of glial cells by the virus.

Research Leads

  • Walter Atwood

    Professor and Vice Chair of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Professor of Neurology

  • Sheila Haley