Biology Home at The University of West Georgia

Log On

Dr. Sara Molesworth-Kenyon

Associate Proffessor
Viral Immunology
Rm 206, Dept. Biology



1997  Ph.D in Virology. Department of Pathology and Microbiology.  University of Bristol (U.K.).         

1993  B.Sc. in Microbiology (Honours). Department of Microbiology.  University of Surrey (Guildford, U.K.).     (Industrial research year at SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals).  



Academic career

1991-1992 Industrial Trainee.  SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals (U.K). Area of Research - Beta-Lactam Antibiotics.

1997-2000 Visiting Research Fellow.    University of Missouri-Kansas City. Area of Research - Epstein-Barr Virus Glycoproteins.

2000-2005. Research Associate I and II.  University of South Alabama. Area of Research – Inflammatory Responses to HSV-1 Infection of the Cornea   Area of Research –The Role of Neutrophils in HSV-1 Infection of the Cornea


Research Interests

Project Title:  The role of the neutrophil in HSV-1 induced corneal inflammation.

My research focuses on the investigation of the cellular and chemokine components involved in the inflammatory response to Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection of the cornea.   HSV-1 is capable of establishing a latent infection which can persist for the life of the host. Recurrent episodes of inflammation in the eye result from reactivation of the virus.  Such reactivation events may culminate in the development of herpes stromal keratitis (HSK), leading to a loss of transparency, scar formation and ultimately blindness.

The only effective treatment currently available for severe herpes stromal keratitis is corneal transplantation.  By identifying the chemokine messengers involved in this destructive inflammatory cascade we may be able to identify targets for chemokine therapies. Such treatments would involve local neutralization of a chemokine which would lead to a break in the pathway of inflammatory cell recruitment thus, limiting corneal scaring.
It has long been known that T lymphocytes and macrophages play an important role in controlling viral infections, whereas neutrophils have been primarily regarded as defenders against bacterial attack.  It is now becoming evident that neutrophils also participate in containing viral replication.  Data has been published which demonstrates that neutrophils help limit HSV-1 replication in the cornea by producing chemokines which in turn promote both innate and acquired immune responses.

Research Aims:   
1. To screen production of chemokines by HSV-1 infected corneas. 
2. To screen production of chemokines by human neutrophils co-cultured with HSV-1 infected corneal cells.


Courses Taught

Biol 3310  Microbiology
Biol 3310L  Microbiology Lab
Biol 4727 and 5727 Essentials in Immunology
Biol 4729 and 5729 Medical Virology
Biol 4984  Senior Seminar
Biol 4983  Advanced Undergraduate Biology Research


Selected Publications

1. C.E. Thorburn, S.J. Molesworth, R. Sutherland and S. Rittenhouse.  Postantibiotic and Post-ß-Lactamase Inhibitor Effects of Amoxicillin plus Clavulanate.  Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 40 (12):2796-2801.  1996.
2. C.M. Lake, S.J. Molesworth and L.M. Hutt-Fletcher.  The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) gN Homolog BLRF1 Encodes a 15-KDa Glycoprotein that cannot be Authentically Processed Unless it is Coexpressed with the EBV gM Homolog BBRF3.  Journal of Virology.  72(7):5559-5564.  1998.
3. S.J. Molesworth, C.M. Lake, C.M. Borza, S.M. Turk and L.M. Hutt-Fletcher.  Epstein-Barr Virus gH is Essential for Penetration of B Cells but also Plays a Role in Attachment of Virus to Epithelial Cells.  Journal of Virology. 74(14):6324-6332.  2000.
4. R.R. Fenton, S. Molesworth-Kenyon, J.E. Oakes and R.N. Lausch.  Linkage of IL-6 with Neutrophil Chemoattractant Expression in Virus-Induced Ocular Inflammation.  Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science.  43(3):737-743.  2002.
5. T.M. Tumpey, R. Fenton, S. Molesworth-Kenyon, J.E. Oakes and R.N .Lausch.  Role for MIP-2, MIP-1a and IL-1a in Delayed Type Hypersensitivity Response to Viral Antigen.  Journal of Virology.  76(16):8050-8057.  2002.
6. S. Molesworth-Kenyon, A. Mates, R. Yin, J.E. Oakes and R.N. Lausch.  CXCR3, IP-10 and Mig, are Required for CD4+ T Cell Recruitment During the DTH Response to HSV-1 yet are Independent of the Mechanism for Viral Clearance.  Virology. 1:333(1) 1-9.  2005.
7. S. Molesworth-Kenyon, J.E. Oakes and R.N. Lausch.  A novel Role for Neutrophils as a Source of T cell Recruiting Chemokines, IP-10 and Mig During the DTH Response to HSV-1.  Journal of Leukocyte Biology.  77:552-559. 2005.
8. S. Molesworth-Kenyon, R Yin, J.E. Oakes and R.N. Lausch.  Il-17 receptor signaling influences virus-induced corneal inflammation.  J. Leukocyte Biology.  83:401-408. 2008.