BS Cell Biology, University of Glasgow, Scotland; PhD, Cell Biology, University of Glasgow, Scotland
Dr. MacLean is an Associate Professor of Microbiology & Immunology at the Tulane University School of Medicine. As a Core Scientist his research focus is on the blood brain barrier and its role in neurologic diseases associated with SIV/HIV infection, Autism Spectrum Disorders, abnormal behaviors and arboviral diseases. He contributes to the mission of the TNPRC by his involvement in education and training activities with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. He also is a resource for all investigators at the TNPRC on a variety of primary cell culture techniques. He is the TNPRC representative on a Campus wide neuroscience research group that serves to synergize the research capabilities of the TNPRC and the other units of the Tulane University Health Science Center.
Dr. MacLean’s research is divided into four main components, each of which focuses on cellular/molecular neuroscience: First, he has an R01 grant to eradicate SIV/HIV from infected individuals using CRISPR-based technology. He is also part of a multi-PI collaborator team for eradication of HIV-1. Secondly, he has an R21 and an R01 subcontract, examining the role of exosomes in activation of specialized brain endothelial cells (PI Dittmer, UNC, Chapel Hill). Specifically, he is examining the timing and mechanisms of blood-brain barrier activation in response to exosomes derived from HIV-infected patients. We are using our unique real-time 3D blood-brain barrier model for these studies. The third component of his studies is to examine activation of glia in animals across the lifespan, including those with behaviors consistent with Autism Spectrum Disorder. These behaviors can be inhibited using behavior-modifying drugs, including naltrexone. We have observed that naltrexone reverses the innate neuroimmune and glial activation in self-injuring animals. Next generation sequencing (RNASeq) is revealing underlying molecular/ cellular mechanisms, including production of endogenous opioids during self-injury, and examining the role of E2F1 activation in self-injury, and prevention using naltrexone (with Dr. Kelly Jordan-Sciutto, Penn School of Dental Medicine). Finally, we have been examining the cellular activation of brain tissues following infection with several arboviral infections, including Chikungunya, Dengue and Zika viruses. These are all designated by the CDC and WHO as being public health emergencies of international concern.
View Dr. MacLean's publiations on PubMed here.