Howard Fox, MD, PhD

Dr. Howard FoxSenior Associate Dean of Research & Development - College of Medicine
Professor - Department of Neurological Sciences
Director - Center for Integrative & Translational Neuroscience

Dr. Fox's Lab

Academic Office:
Durham Research Center II, Room 3071
985800 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-5930


Research Interests:
The brain is a unique organ, not only functionally but also in terms of host response to events such as damage and infection. We study processes in which this response leads to neurodegeneration and brain dysfunction.

We have extensively studied the development of neurodegeneration using infection of rhesus monkeys with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) as a model of neuroHIV. In this work we examine the virology, immunology, pathology, neurobiology, and molecular basis of the resulting central nervous system (CNS) disease. We pioneered the use of “omic” technologies to study the disease pathogenesis, including transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic, and single cell methods. In the laboratory we utilize in vitro systems to answer mechanistic issues relating to our findings.

Major advancements in HIV treatment have fortunately transformed HIV infection to a chronic condition. However, while HIV infected individuals are living longer, damaging effects of HIV persist in the brain and may interact with other neurodegenerative disorders. Dr. Fox leads the Chronic HIV infection and Aging in NeuroAIDS Center (CHAIN). The goal of the CHAIN Center is to provide the necessary leadership and backbone of support to continue the outstanding research on HIV/AIDS, aging and the central nervous system ongoing at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and throughout the nation. Experts in a number of fields direct the Cell-Tissue-Animal, Imaging, Omics, and Therapeutics cores, along with the Administrative and Developmental cores. Visit the CHAIN Center web site for more information. In addition, Dr. Fox leads the Data Coordinating Center and the Scientific Leadership group for the National NeuroAIDS Tissue Consortium (NNTC), a four-site clinical and autopsy study of neuroHIV in its 20th year. The goal of the NNTC is to further research on the neurological effects of HIV infection through analysis of the cohort, and suppling data, biofluids, and tissues from the participants/donors to investigators. Visit the NNTC web site for more information.

Due to talented lab members, our work has now extended into studies of aging, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and drugs of abuse. This work also encompasses the rapidly expanding field of extracellular vesicles. Much of this work is in collaboration with our former postdoctoral trainees and now independent UNMC faculty Drs. Kelly Stauch and Sowmya Yelamanchili.

Students and postdoctoral trainees can participate in a number of the projects in Dr. Fox’s laboratory. Those interested in molecular training can join projects involved in synthesizing the combined transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic data to examine pathophysiological mechanisms of disease. Those with interests in virology, immunology and/or neuroscience can help us probe the immune response to infection within the brain, and assess its effect on neuronal function. While each trainee will have an independent project, the common themes involve several members of the group and collaborators.

Publications by Dr. Fox in Pubmed

Dr. Fox discusses careers in science and his research