University of California, Riverside

School of Medicine



Faculty Biographies


Emma Wilson

Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences

Emma Wilson

University of California, Riverside
Riverside, CA 92521

Tel: (951) 827-4328
E-mail: emma.wilson@ucr.edu
Office: 1237 Webber Hall

Education and Training

  • BSc Hons University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland, UK
  • Ph.D., University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
  • Postdoc, University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, USA

Research Summary

The primary focus of the lab is the immune response in the brain following Toxoplasma gondii infection. This is a common parasitic infection of many mammals including humans where prevalence is 10-30% in the USA and up to 80% in parts of Europe and South America. Infection with this parasite leads to an acute systemic inflammatory response that is controlled resulting in a chronic phase of infection where the parasite is maintained predominantly as a slow replicating form in the CNS. In most cases this results in no overt pathology however in the absence of an appropriate immune response, the parasite will reactivate leading to Toxoplasmic encephalitis (TE) a disease that is often fatal if left untreated.

Thus, T. gondii infection is a rare example of a finely tuned immune response in the brain where there is a balance between control of the parasite and immunopathology. Understanding the mechanisms that control this balance may improve our ability to control an inappropriate immune response in the CNS.

Selected Publications

  • Nance JP, Vanella KM, Worth D, David C, Carter D, Noor S, Hubeau C, Fitz L, Lane TE, Wynn TA, Wilson EH. Chitinase dependent control of protozoan cyst burden in the brain. PLoS Pathogens 2012 Nov; 8(11).
  • Nichols HL, Saffeddine M, Theriot BS, Hegde A, Polley D, El-Mays T, Vliagoftis H, Hollenberg MD, Wilson EH, Walker JK, DeFea KA. Beta-arrestin-2 mediates the proinflammatory effects of proteinse-activated receptor-2 in the airway. PNAS 2012 Oct 9.
  • David C, Nance JP, Hubbard J, Hsu M, Binder D, Wilson EH. Stabilin-1 expression in tumor associated macrophages. Brain Research 2012. Oct 24.
  • Harris TH, Banigan EJ, Christian DA, Konradt C, Tait Wojno ED, Norose K, Wilson EH, John B, Weninger W, Luster AD, Liu AJ, Hunter CA. Generalized Levy walks and the role of chemokines in migration of effector CD8+ T cells. Nature 2012. Jun 28.
  • Noor S, Wilson EH. Role of C-C chemokine receptor type 7 and its ligands during neuroinflammation. J. Neuroinflammation 2012. April 25; 9:77
  • Clark RT, Nance JP, Noor S, Wilson EH. T-cell production of matrix metalloproteinases and inhibition of parasite clearance by TIMP-1 during chronic Toxoplasma infection in the brain. ASN Neuro 2011. Jan 21; 3(1)
  • Ploix CC, Noor S, Crane J, Masek K, Carter W, Lo DD, Wilson EH, Carson MJ. CNS-derived CCL21 is both sufficient to drive homestatic CD4+ T cell proliferation and necessary for efficient CD4+ T cell migration into the CNS parenchyma following Toxoplasam gondii infection. Brain Behavior and Immunity 2011 Jul;25(5):883-96
  • Wilson EH, Weninger W, Hunter CA. Trafficking of cells in the central nervous system. Journal od Clinical Investigation 2010. May;120(5):1368-79
  • Noor S, Habashy AS, Nance JP, Clark RT, Nemati K, Carson MJ, Wilson EH. CCR7-dependent immunity during acute Toxoplasma gondii infection. Infection and Immunity 2010. May; 78(5)
  • Jordan KA, Wilson EH, Tait ED, Fox BA, Roos DS, Bzik DJ, Dzierszinski F, Hunter CA. Kinetics and phenotype of vaccine-induced CD8+ T cell responses to Toxoplasma gondii. Infection and Immunity 2009 Sep; 7(9): 3892-901
  • John B, Harris TH, Tait E, Wilson EH, Gregg B, Ng LG, Mrass P, Roos DS, Dzierszinski F, Weninger W, Hunter CA. Dynamic imaging of CD8+ T cells and dendritic cells during infection with Toxoplasma gondii. PLoS Pathogens 2009 Jul;5(7).
  • Wilson EH, Mrass P, Harris TH, John B, Pepper M, Wherry EJ, Dzierzinski F, Roos D, Haydon PG, Weninger W, Hunter CA. Behavior of effector CD8+ T cells in the CNS and visualization of a kinesis-associated system of reticular fibers. Immunity. 2009 Feb;30(2):300-11. Epub 2009 Jan 22.
  • Wilson EH, Hunter CA. Immunodominance and recognition of intracellular pathogens. J Infect Dis. 2008 Dec 1;198(11):1579-81
  • Dziersinszinski F, Pepper M, Stumhofer JS, LaRosa DF, Wilson EH, Turka LA, Halonen SK, Hunter CA, Roos DS. Presentation of Toxoplasma gondii antigens via the endogenous major histocompatibility complex class I pathway in nonprofessional and professional antigen-presenting cells. Infection and Immunity. Nov; 75(11):5200-9.
  • Stumhofer JS, Wilson EH, Huang E, Villarino AV, Sehy D, Saris CJM, Ernst M and Hunter CA. A role for IL-27 as a negative regulator of Th17 responses during infection-induced chronic CNS inflammation. 2006 Nature Immunology. Sep;7(9):937-45

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

School Information

School of Medicine
2608 School of Medicine Education Building

Admissions Inquiries: (951) 827-4333
General Inquiries: (951) 827-4568
Fax: (951) 827-7688
E-mail: medschool@ucr.edu

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