Shams, Homayoun, D.V.M., Ph.D.

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Research Interest:

  • Basic mechanisms of innate immune responses to protect against influenza and secondary bacterial pneumonia.
  • Immunobiology and molecular pathogenesis of infectious diseases.

Current Projects:

  • Novel mechanisms of innate immunity to protect host against influenza virus and secondary bacterial pneumonia.
  • Effect of second hand cigarette smoke on immunity against and influenza and secondary bacterial pneumonia.

Lay Summary:

The emergence of new microbial pathogens such as avian influenza virus, drug-resistant pathogens and the threat of bioterrorism are clear indications that infectious diseases will remain an enormous threat to the public health in the 21st century. A concerted scientific effort is required to deal with this ongoing problem.

Influenza virus causes several thousand deaths worldwide each year, despite the widespread use of vaccines. In the United States, 5-20% of the population develop influenza, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from its complications, and about 36,000 people die annually ( Influenza also causes seasonal epidemics and rare pandemics that have killed up to 50 million persons in 1918 pandemic. These pandemics are regarded as inevitable and there is growing concern that avian influenza strains have the potential to cause the next pandemic. A critical public health priority is to develop strategies to reduce the morbidity and mortality from such events. Despite the widespread use of vaccines, influenza causes significant morbidity and mortality throughout the world, and improved methods to protect against influenza are sorely needed, particularly in the face of an impending pandemic.

Selected Papers and Abstracts:

NOTICE: Protected health information is subject to electronic disclosure.