Charles Wood

Lewis/Lehr/3M University Distinguished Professor Profile Image
Lewis/Lehr/3M University Distinguished Professor Biological Sciences cwood1@unl.edu 402-472-4550 Morrison Center 102

Research Interests

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a devastating disease that is caused by a retrovirus known as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Infected individuals are not only immunosuppressed but also frequently develop malignancies, such as lymphomas and Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS). One of laboratory’s largest ongoing collaborative research projects – which has been ongoing for the past 20 years – involves multiple U.S. research institutions and the University of Zambia, School of Medicine to study HIV/AIDS, and Kaposi’s sarcoma associated human herpesvirus (KSHV) transmission, disease pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention. More recently the study on HIV and KS has been expanded to Tanzania. Dr. Wood has built research laboratories and research teams in these two African countries to conduct HIV and related malignancies research, and has frequent exchanges of students and fellows with these two study sites.

The Wood laboratory has been involved in the molecular biology of HIV and a human herpesvirus associated with KS named KSHV which has been linked to KS, an AIDS defining cancer. The laboratory has been interested in the route of KSHV transmission and whether infection by this virus can directly lead to KS is not clear. Dr. Wood’s laboratory has found that the infection rate is extremely high in Zambia, a central African nation that lies in the heart of the AIDS epidemic. Dr. Wood’s study involves the recruitment of mother/infant pairs at birth to determine: (1) the seroprevalence for HIV and KSHV, (2) the genotypes of the circulating virus in Africa, (3) to determine whether vertical transmission can occur and the source of vertical and/or horizontal transmission, (4) the rate of transmission and whether treatment with anti-HIV regimens to restore the immune system can prevent transmission, and (5) where are the potential viral reservoirs in infected individuals.

One of the laboratory’s findings is that there is a high prevalence of HIV infection in Zambia’s normal female population and 40% of the population are infected by KSHV. Therefore, the implications for disease development and transmission of both HIV and KSHV to babies are enormous. Given this high incidence of infection, the Wood lab has found that vertical transmission can occur but the frequency is not high. Most of the transmission occur post-delivery during early childhood, the source of transmission is via saliva contact from both within and outside the household, and HIV is a major co-factor for transmission. The lab has recently found that the central nervous system (CNS) is a site of latency for KSHV, and neuronal cells in patients can be infected. Ongoing studies now focus on the effect of KSHV on the CNS, and its effects on HIV neuropathogenesis.

Currently the laboratory is studying factors that contribute to the development of KS in KSHV infected individuals as well as their immune response against KSHV, and whether there are any differences between patients with HIV associated epidemic KS versus those with endemic KS without HIV. The approaches being taken are to analyze both the innate and cell mediated immune response, as well as tumor transcriptome analysis of the two types of KS to identify biomarkers or alternation in both viral and cellular genes that could lead to KS. 

The laboratory has also found that almost all Zambian HIV are of subgroup C and are rapidly spreading in Zambia. Unfortunately, very little is known about subgroup C’s viral biological properties, pathogenesis, and genetic evolution in infected individuals. Dr. Wood has been characterizing a panel of subtype C HIV isolated from infected infants at various time points after birth to understand the natural evolution of these viruses and to correlate them to disease progression. The goal of these studies is to better understand the biology of this virus and its transmission so that strategies can be developed to block its transmission. Studies are now underway to generate a chimeric virus between the subtype C HIV-1 and a simian immunodeficiency virus so that an animal model can be generated to test various strategies to block vertical HIV transmission.

Recent Publications

  • Crabtree, K., Wojcicki, J., Minhas, V., Kankasa, C., Mitchell, C. and Wood, C. Food and Drink Sharing Practices are Associated with HHV-8 Seroconversion in a Longitudinal Cohort of Zambian Children. 2017. J Infect. Dis. (In Press).
  • Poppe LK, Chunda-Liyoka C, Kwon EH, Gondwe C, West JT, Kankasa C, Ndongmo CB, Wood C. 2017.HIV drug resistance in infants increases with changing prevention of mother-to-child transmission regimens.AIDS. 31(13):1885-1889. PMID:28746086.
  • Liu Z, Fang Q, Zuo J, Wang J, Chen Y, Minhas V, Wood C, He N, Zhang T. 2017.High seroprevalence of human herpesvirus 8 and herpes simplex virus 2 infections in men who have sex with men in Shanghai, China. J Med Virol. 2017 May;89(5):887-894. PMID: 27769110
  • Liu Z, Fang Q, Zhou S, Minhas V, Wood C, He N, Zhang T. 2017. Seroprevalence of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus among HIV-infected Uygurs in Xinjiang, China. Med Virol. PMID: 28252177
  • Liu Z, Fang Q, Zuo J, Minhas V, Wood C, He N, Zhang T. 2017. Was Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus introduced into China via the ancient Silk Road? An evolutionary perspective. Arch Virol. 2017 Jul 7. doi: 10.1007/s00705-017-3467-1. [Epub ahead of print]PMID: 28687922.
  • Zhang T, Liu Z, Wang J, Minhas V, Wood C, Clifford GM, He N, Franceschi S. 2017. Seroprevalence of antibodies against Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus among HIV-negative people in China.Infect Agent Cancer. 2017 May 30;12:32. PMID: 28572838
  • Tso F; Sawyer A; Kwon E; Mudenda V; Langford D; Zhou Y; West J; Wood C. 2017.Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus infection of neurons in HIV positive patients. J of Inf Dis; 215(12):1989-1907. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiw545. PMID:27932611.
  • Liu Z, Fang Q, Zuo J, Wang J, Chen Y, Minhas V, Wood C, He N, Zhang T. High seroprevalence of human herpesvirus 8 and herpes simplex virus 2 infections in men who have sex with men in Shanghai, China. 2016. J Med Virol. 81(8) 1422-1431.
  • Kliemann DA, Tovo CV, da Veiga AB, de Mattos AA, Wood C. 2016. Polymorphisms and resistance mutations of hepatitis C virus on sequences in the European hepatitis C virus database. World J Gastroenterol. 22(40):8910-8917. PubMed PMID: 27833382; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5083796.
  • Ye F, Zeng Y, Sha J, Jones T, Kuhne K, Wood C, Gao SJ. High Glucose Induces Reactivation of Latent Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus. 2016. J Virol. Aug 17. pii: JVI.01049-16. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27535045; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5068518.
  • Diamond J, McQuillan J, Spiegel AN, Hill PW, Smith R, West J, Wood C. 2016. Viruses, Vaccines and the Public. Mus Soc Issues.11(1):9-16. PubMed PMID: 27524953; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4980086.
  • Buch S, Chivero ET, Hoare J, Jumare J, Nakasujja N, Mudenda V, Paul R, Kanmogne GD, Sacktor N, Wood C, Royal W, Joseph J. 2016. Proceedings from the NIMH symposium on "NeuroAIDS in Africa: neurological and neuropsychiatric complications of HIV". J Neurovirol. 22(5):699-702. PubMed PMID: 27473196; PMCID: PMC5055435.
  • Olp LN, Minhas V, Gondwe C, Poppe LK, Rogers AM, Kankasa C, West JT, Wood C. 2016. J Med Virol. Longitudinal analysis of the humoral response to Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus after primary infection in children. J Med Virol. 88(11):1973-81. PubMed PMID: 27062052.

  • Tyler K, Handema R, Schmitz R, Phiri F, Kuyper K & Wood C. 2016. Multi-Level Risk and Protective Factors for Substance Use Among Zambian Street Youth. J  Substance Use & Misuse. 51: 922-931. PMID: 27144671
  • Tyler K, Handema R, Schmitz R, Phiri F, Wood C and Olson C. 2016. Risk factors for HIV among Zambian street youth. J HIV AIDS and Social Sci. 15:254-268. 

  • Lingel A, Ehlers E, Wang Q, Cao M, Wood C, Lin R, Zhang L. 2016. Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Reduces Cellular Myeloid Differentiation Primary-Response Gene 88 (MyD88) Expression via Modulation of Its RNA. J Virol. 90:180-188; PubMed PMID: 26468534.
  • Chisanga C, Eggert D, Charles D. Mitchell CD, Wood C, Angeletti PC. 2015. Evidence for Placental HPV Infection in Both HIV Positive and Negative Women. Journal of Cancer Therapy, 2015, 6, 1276-1289. Published Online December 2015 in SciRes. 

  • Olp LN, Jeanniard A, Marimo C, West JT, Wood C. 2015. Whole-Genome Sequencing of Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus from Zambian Kaposi's Sarcoma Biopsy Specimens Reveals Unique Viral Diversity. J Virol. 89(24):12299-308. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01712-15. Epub 2015 Sep 30. PubMed PMID: 26423952; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4665246.
  • Olp LN, Minhas V, Gondwe C, Kankasa C, Wojcicki J, Mitchell C, West JT, Wood C. 2015. Effects of Antiretroviral Therapy on Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV) Transmission among HIV-Infected Zambian Children. J Natl Cancer Inst. 16;107(10): djv189. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djv189. Print 2015 Oct. PubMed PMID: 26185193.

  • Li Q, Tso FY, Kang G, Lu W, Li Y, Fan W, Yuan Z, Destache CJ, Wood C. 2015. Early Initiation of Antiretroviral Therapy Can Functionally Control Productive HIV-1 Infection in Humanized-BLT Mice. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2015. 69(5):519-27. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000000687. PubMed PMID: 26167617; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4503390.
  • Wang J, Liu S, Cao Y, Yang L, Chen Y, Minhas V, Wood C, Zhang T. 2015.  Prevalence of Kaposi's sarcoma associated herpesvirus among men attending sexually transmitted infections clinics in Anhui, China. J Med Virol. 2015 Jul 3. doi:10.1002/jmv.24321. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26147809.

  • Wang LX, Mellon M, Bowder D, Quinn M, Shea D, Wood C, Xiang SH. 2015. Escherichiacoli surface display of single-chain antibody VRC01 against HIV-1 infection. Virology. 475:179-86. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2014.11.018. Epub 2014 Dec 5. PubMed PMID: 25482819; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4337897.
  • Kalima M, Lishimpi K, Meza JL, Watanabe-Galloway S, Msadabwe SC, Mwaba CK, Shibemba AL, Banda L, Wood C. Chamberlain RM, Soliman AS. 2015.  Observed and expected incidence of cervical cancer in Lusaka and the southern and Western provinces of Zambia, 2007 to 2012. Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2015 Jan;25 (1):98-105. doi: 10.1097/IGC.0000000000000325. PubMed PMID: 25423318; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4272632.

  • Ngalamika O, Minhas V, Wood C. 2015. Kaposi's sarcoma at the University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia in the antiretroviral therapy era Int J Cancer. 136(5): 1241–1242. PMID:25196932. PMCID: 4268381.
  • Li L, Wei D, Hsu WL, Li T, Gui T, Wood C, Liu Y, Li H, Bao Z, Liu S, Wang X, Li J. CRF07_BC Strain Dominates the HIV-1 Epidemic in Injection Drug Users in Liangshan Prefecture of Sichuan, China. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2015 May;31(5):479-87. doi: 10.1089/AID.2014.0120. Epub 2015 Mar 9. PMID:25560398.

Director, Nebraska Center for Virology
Director, Confucius Institute

Specialization:
  • Human Viral Infection Associated Diseases including Cancers
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Education:
  • Ph.D. Columbia University
  • M. Phil. Columbia University
  • B.A. University of Kansas