Thomas Kozel, Ph.D.
Professor of Microbiology
- Ph.D., Microbiology, University of Iowa, 1971
- M.S., Microbiology, University of Iowa, 1969
- B.A., Microbiology, University of Iowa, 1967
Dr. Kozel has been an assistant professor, associate professor and full professor at the University of Nevada, Reno (1971-present). He did a sabbatical leave at The Rockefeller University (1980) and was a visiting scientist at Oxford University (2000). Dr. Kozel has published over 130 peer-reviewed publications. He has served on over 25 NIH study sections and advisory panels. He was an NIH MERIT awardee (1996-2005) and was the Mycology Editor for Infection and Immunity (1996-2005). Dr. Kozel was the University of Nevada, Reno 2012 Outstanding Researcher.
Dr. Kozel’s research is focused on development of rapid, inexpensive, point-of-care diagnostics for infectious disease. Improved tests can facilitate early diagnosis of infection and early administration of appropriate antimicrobial therapy. Early treatment has the potential to save lives and limits development of antibiotic resistance that follows overuse and inappropriate use of antimicrobial agents.
Diagnostics under development in the Kozel laboratory aim to detect microbial antigens that are shed into body fluids during infection. The means for detection is the immunoassay. The assay platform is the lateral flow immunoassay (LFA), the same platform that is used in the home pregnancy test. LFA is rapid (minutes to result), inexpensive, and can be performed by personnel with minimal training. As a consequence, these assays are ideally suited for use in resource-limited settings.
Previous studies led to the development of monoclonal antibodies that were used to construct an LFA for early diagnosis of cryptococcal meningitis. There are 1,000,000 cases of cryptococcal meningitis each year. The Centers for Disease Control has estimated that the LFA for diagnosis of cryptococcal meningitis will save as many as 100,000 lives each year, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
Current studies aim to develop diagnostics for i) invasive aspergillosis, ii) invasive candidiasis, iii) a broad identification of invasive fungal disease, and iv) anthrax. The anthrax diagnostic is currently in advanced product development. Results to date indicate that the anthrax test can identify the presence of pulmonary anthrax long before the blood culture becomes positive.
- Hovenden, M., M.A. Hubbard, D.P. AuCoin, P. Thorkildson, D.E. Reed, W.H. Welch, C.R. Lyons, J.A. Lovchik and T.R. Kozel. 2013. IgG subclass and heavy chain domains contribute to binding and protection by mAbs to the poly γ-D-glutamic acid capsular antigen of Bacillus anthracis. PLoS Pathogens. 9:e1003306.
- Hubbard, M.A., P. Thorkildson, W.H. Welch, T.R. Kozel. 2013. Stereo-selective binding of monoclonal antibodies to the poly-gamma-D-glutamic acid capsular antigen of Bacillus anthracis. Mol. Immunol. 55:337-344.
- Hubbard, M.A., P. Thorkildson, T.R. Kozel and D.P. AuCoin. 2013. Constant domains influence binding of mouse-human chimeric antibodies to the soluble and capsular polypeptide of Bacillus anthracis. Virulence. 15:483-488.
- Hansen,J., E. Slechta, M. Gates-Hollingsworth, B. Neary, A. Barker, S. Bauman, T. Kozel, and K. Hanson. 2013. Large scale evaluation of the Immuno-Mycologics Inc. (IMMY) lateral flow and enzyme-linked immunoassays for the detection of cryptococcal antigen in serum and cerebrospinal fluid. Clin. Vacc. Immunol. 20:52-55.
- Gates-Hollingsworth, M.A., and T.R. Kozel. 2013. Serotype sensitivity of a lateral flow immunoassay for cryptococcal antigen (CrAg). Clin. Vaccine Immunol. 20:634-635.
- AuCoin, D.P., D.E. Reed, N.L. Marlenee, R.A. Bowen, P. Thorkildson, B.M. Judy, A.G. Torres, and T.R. Kozel. 2012. Polysaccharide specific monoclonal antibodies provide passive protection against intranasal challenge with Burkholderia pseudomallei. PLoS One. 7:e35386.
- Nuti, D.E., R.B. Crump, F.Dwi Handayani, N. Chantratita, S.J. Peacock, R. Bowen, P.L. Felgner, D.Huw Davies, T. Wu, C.R. Lyons, P.J. Brett, M.N. Burtnick, T.R. Kozel, and D.P. AuCoin. 2011. Identification of circulating bacterial antigens by in vivo microbial antigen discovery. mBio. Pii: e00136-11. Doi: 10.1128/mBio.00136-11.
- Jarvis, J.N., A. Percival, S. Bauman, J. Pelfrey, G. Meintjes, G.N. Williams, N. Longley, T.S. Harrison and T.R. Kozel. 2011. Evaluation of a novel point of care cryptococcal antigen test on serum, plasma and urine from patients with HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis. Clin. Infect. Dis. 53:1019-1023.