|I am a medical school professor, research scientist, consultant, inventor, and amateur photographer. I teach, do research, and provide professional service in the Department of Pathology and Microbiology at The University of Nebraska Medical Center. Consulting and business activities not associated with the university are done through IRBF Development, LLC.|
Research and Teaching
I enjoy work in the lab, and I continue to do what I enjoy, including high-throughput assays of tissue factor, factor VII, and factor X (photo), enabled by research in my laboratory (Carson, 1985). The rationale for the continuous chomogenic assay is summarized at this link. My interest in tissue factor and the initiation of blood coagulation began with my post-doctoral work at Yale Medical School (Carson and Konigsberg, 1980).
I remain interested in blood coagulation, but my current research is focused on group B coxsackieviruses and their receptor(s) (Carson, Chapman, and Tracy, 1997; Carson, Chapman, Hafenstein, and Tracy, 2011). The group B coxsackieviruses can cause serious infections of the heart (myocarditis), pancreas (pancreatitis, and possibly diabetes), and brain (encephalitis), and can be particularly dangerous in babies. Although now outdated, the medical significance and research on these viral infections are reviewed in Volume 323 of Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology; Tracy, Oberste, Drescher, ed., Springer-Verlag, Berlin 2008. My current research investigates molecules that bind group B coxsackieviruses, their effects on virus viability/stability, and how they alter the interaction of the viruses with the CAR (coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor) and with cells (Organtini et al, 2014 and Carson, 2014). I am increasingly curious about selective pressures that drive these viruses to bind molecules other than the CAR (Carson, Chapman, Hafenstein, and Tracy, 2011), and mechanisms that affect virus stability and efficiency for infecting target cells (Carson et al, 2015).
Dr. Sam Pirruccello and I coordinate four hours of lectures in the Hematology/ Oncology Core of the second year medical school curriculum. I teach the fundamental biochemistry of blood coagulation, fibrinolysis, and their regulation. This introduces the students to platelets, enzymes, cofactors, inhibitors, and other proteins that participate in hemostasis, and the basic principles involved in regulation (e.g. activation, feedback loops, inhibition). This prepares them with the vocabulary and concepts necessary to appreciate Dr. Pirruccello's lectures on clinical bleeding and clinical thrombosis. I use advanced versions of my lectures in continuing education for pathology residents.
In the Graduate College, Dr. Maurice Godfrey and I have teamed together to teach Molecular Basis of Disease. This is a three-credit upper-level graduate course concentrating on human biochemical genetics. Following a brief review of genetic principles, well-studied inborn errors of metabolism and development are used to illustrate how genetic variations (e.g. mutations) alter metabolic, developmental, or signaling systems and result in the expressed phenotype. Disease processes are considered in the context of environment and genetic diversity. One-third of the course involves discussion of contemporary literature relevant to diseases for which mechanisms are not yet well understood or only recently elucidated. Dr. Lois Starr, a clinical geneticist, is a co-director of the course as of 2016. Her clinical expertise provides a new clinical dimension to the course.
Additional involvement in graduate education includes decades of service on the Pathology and Microbiology Graduate Committee, and participation on student supervisory committees.