Dr. Rick Meeker, PhD.
Research in the Meeker lab is focused on understanding the mechanisms of HIV neuropathogenesis and the development of neuroprotective therapeutics. Inflammatory changes within the brain caused by HIV infection initiate a toxic cascade that disrupts normal neural function. To explore the mechanisms responsible for this damage, we investigate changes in calcium homeostasis, glutamate receptor function and inflammatory responses in primary neuronal, microglial and macrophage cultures. HIV-associated activation of macrophages and microglia induces the release of factors that cause neuronal damage through mechanisms that interfere with the regulation of calcium in the cell. New therapeutic approaches that protect neurons and reduce inflammation are currently under investigation. In vivo studies are conducted with promising neuroprotective agents to facilitate translation to the clinic.
Antiretroviral neurotoxicity – Meeker, Liner
CNS compartmentalization of HIV – Schnell, Swanstrom