Cynthia A. Smeraski, PhD
Office: W109 ARBL Building, Foothills Campus
Research Interests -- Neurobiology; Neuroimmunology and Infectious Diseases
My lab focuses on viral diseases that affect the nervous system. Currently, the focus of the lab is to understand the pathogenesis of West Nile virus (WNV) infection in birds and mammals, with emphasis on delineating the mechanism(s) of neuroinvasion. Viruses that have the ability to replicate in the CNS are designated neurotropic and can gain access to the brain and spinal cord either through the blood and/or nerves that project peripherally to infected organ systems. Immunohistochemical and dye/tracer techniques allow us to relate the localization of WNV proteins in brain sections of infected animals to the status of the blood-brain barrier and to neurons that have access to fenestrated capillaries (or infected targets) over the time course of infection. We use a combination of neuroanatomical and immunohistochemical techniques, along with virologic assays and behavioral measurements (e.g., locomotion, movement, activity patterns) to assess any behavioral deficits and clinical symptoms associated with different levels/patterns of CNS infection. One of our long range goals is to determine whether any neurologic manifestations lead to lasting anatomical, behavioral or neurophysiological deficits in species that survive the disease. These studies currently in progress shall provide fundamental aspects of the neuropathology of encephalitis viruses and will assist in future studies aimed at a) the interaction of the immune system and the (immune) sensory components of the nervous system and b) neurophysiological characteristics of neurons in infected brain slices.
Clark L, Smeraski CA. 1990. Seasonal shifts in odor acuity by starlings. J Exp Zool 255:22-29.
Giszter S, Graziani V, Kargo W, Hockensmith G, Davies MR, Smeraski CS, Murray M. 1998. Pattern generators and cortical maps in locomotion of spinal injured rats. Ann NY Acad Sci 860:554-555.
Smeraski CA, Dunwiddie TV, Diao L, Finger TE. 1999. NMDA and non-NMDA receptors mediate responses in the primary gustatory nucleus in goldfish. Chem Senses 24:37-46.
Smith BN, Banfield BW, Smeraski CA, Wilcox CL, Dudek FE, Enquist LW, Pickard GE. 2000. Pseudorabies virus expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein: A tool for in vitro electrophysiological analysis of transsynaptically labeled neurons in identified central nervous system circuits. Proc Natl Acad Sci 97:9264-9269.
Smeraski CA, Bottger B, Finger TE. 2001. Kainate-activated cobalt uptake in the primary gustatory nucleus in goldfish: visualization of the morphology and distribution of cells expressing AMPA/kainate receptors in the vagal lobe. J Comp Neurol 431:59-74.
Pickard GE, Smeraski CA, Tomlinson CC, Banfield BW, Kaufman J, Wilcox CL, Enquist LW, Sollars PJ. 2002. Intravitreal injection of the attenuated pseudorabies virus PRV Bartha results in infection of the hamster suprachiasmatic nucleus only by retrograde transsynaptic transport via autonomic circuits. J Neurosci 22:2701-2710.
Belenky MA, Smeraski CA, Provencio I, Sollars PJ, Pickard GE. 2003. Melanopsin retinal ganglion cells receive bipolar and amacrine cell synapses. J Comp Neurol 460:380-393.
Sollars PJ, Smeraski CA, Kaufman JD, Ogilvie MD, Provencio I, Pickard GE. 2003. Melanopsin and non-melanopsin expressing retinal ganglion cells innervate the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus. Vis Neurosci 20:601-610.
Smeraski CA, Sollars PJ, Ogilvie MD, Enquist LW, Pickard GE. 2004. Suprachiasmatic
nucleus input to autonomic circuits identified by retrograde transsynaptic
transport of pseudorabies virus from the eye.
J Comp Neurol 471:298-313.
Murray M, Fischer I, Smeraski C, Tessler A, Giszter S. 2004. Towards a definition of recovery of function. J Neurotrauma 21:405-413.
Clark L, Hall J, McLean R, Dunbar M, Klenk K, Bowen R, Smeraski C. 2006. Susceptibility of greater sage grouse to experimental infection with West Nile virus. J Wild Dis 42(1), in press.