Thomas R. Kozel

Thomas Kozel, Ph.D.

Diagnosis of fungal infection


Professional Biography

  • 1971 - present: Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Full Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno
  • 1996 - 2005: Mycology Editor for Infection and Immunity
  • 1996 - 2005: NIH MERIT awardee
  • 2014: Recipient, Rhoda Benham Award
  • 2012: Outstanding Researcher, University of Nevada, Reno
  • 2000: Visiting scientist, Oxford University, Oxford, England
  • 1980: Sabbatical, The Rockefeller University, New York City
  • Published over 140 peer-reviewed publications
  • Served on over 35 NIH study sections and advisory panels

Research Interests

Dr. Kozel’s research focuses on development of rapid, inexpensive, point-of-care diagnostics for infectious disease with an emphasis on fungal infections. Improved tests can facilitate early diagnosis of infection and early administration of appropriate antimicrobial therapy. Early treatment will save lives and limit 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 or the COVID-19 antigen 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 250,000 cases of cryptococcal meningitis each year, resulting in 180,000 deaths. The Centers for Disease Control has estimated that the LFA for diagnosis of cryptococcal meningitis will save as many as 50-100,000 lives each year, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

Current studies aim to develop diagnostics for i) invasive fungal disease in the immunocompromised patient, ii) “black mold” infections in COVID patients, iii) fungal nail infections, and iv) coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever).

Current Lab Members

  • Amanda Burnham-Marusich Ph.D., Faculty Researcher
  • Lawrence Mariano, Staff Research Associate III
  • Kathleen Zayac, Staff Research Associate II
  • Marcie Hollingsworth, Staff Research Associate IV
  • Peter Thorkildson, Staff Research Associate IV

Past Lab Members

  • Frank Swenson M.S.
  • Terrence McGaw M.S.
  • Thomas F. Eckert M.S.
  • Annette Schlageter Ph.D.
  • Elmer Otteson Ph.D.
  • Joseph Lillegard M.D./Ph.D.
  • Cile Savoy M.S.
  • Tracy MacGill Ph.D.
  • Sherri Bloomer M.S.
  • Matthew Grinsell M.D./Ph.D.
  • Ann Perceval M.S.
  • Marjorie Sutherland Ph.D.
  • Maria Parepalo Ph.D.
  • Sindy Chavez Ph.D.
  • Mark Hubbard Ph.D.
  • Breeana Hubbard Ph.D.
  • Joshua Rumfield M.S.


  • 1971: Ph.D., Microbiology, University of Iowa
  • 1969: M.S., Microbiology, University of Iowa
  • 1967: B.A., Microbiology, University of Iowa