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University of Pittsburgh Physicians
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Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-641-4220
Fax: 412-641-1133
Dezzutti_Charlene_11_16_2009.jpg Charlene S. Dezzutti , PhD
Associate Professor
Magee-Womens Research Institute
204 Craft Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-641-3462
Fax: 412-641-6170
Faculty Research Interests
Research Interests
Research Interests

A cell biologist specializing in viral immunology, Dr. Dezzutti is the principal investigator of the Network Laboratory for the Microbicide Trials Network (MTN), an HIV/AIDS clinical trials network established by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). In this capacity, Dr. Dezzutti conducts side-by-side comparative assessments of different microbicide candidates that will be used in clinical trials.

Sexual transmission of HIV is the primary route of viral spread. Yet despite almost 30 years into the HIV epidemic, the mechanism of HIV transmission remains poorly understood. The work done in my laboratory focuses on understanding:

1) The mechanism(s) of transmission.
We have developed cervical and colorectal tissue explant systems to study HIV transmission ex vivo. Using these systems we are attempting to determine the first HIV infected cells.

2) The factors that influence transmission.
We have an active program studying the interaction(s) between sexually transmitted infections and HIV in acute in vitro model systems as well as our tissue explant systems. Our interest also includes the influence hormones such as estrogen and testosterone have on HIV-1 infection.

3) The ways to prevent transmission of HIV.
For prevention of sexually acquired HIV, we are evaluating microbicides that may be utilized in human clinical trials. We are examining innate immune factors found in genital secretions that could be augmented or exploited for microbicide development.
  • B.S.: Microbiology/Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 1982-1986
  • M.S.: Veterinary Pathobiology/Cell Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 1986-1989
  • Ph.D.: Viral Immunology/Cell Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 1987-1989
    Relevant publications

    Dezzutti, C.S., Guenthner, P.C., Cummins, J.E., Cabrera, T., Marshall, J.H., Dillberger, A., and Lal, R.B. Cervical and prostate primary epithelial cells are not productively infected with HIV-1, but sequester the virus. J. Infect. Dis. 183:1204-1213, 2001.

    Cummins, Jr., J.E., Villanueva, J.M., Evans-Strickfaden, T., Abner, S.R., Shekou, S., Bush, T.J., Green, T.A., Lennox, J.L., Wright, T., Folks, T.M., Hart, C.E., and Dezzutti, C.S. Detection of infectious HIV-1 in female genital secretions using a short-term culture method. J. Clin. Microbiol.41:4081-4088, 2003.

    Dezzutti, C.S., James, V.N., Ramos, A., Sullivan, S.T., Siddig, A., Bush, T.A., Grohskopf, L.A., Paxton, L., Subbarao, S., Hart, C.E. In Vitro Comparison of Topical Microbicides for the Prevention of HIV Transmission. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 48:3834-3844, 2004.

    Guenthner, P.C., Secor, W.E., and Dezzutti, C.S. Trichomonas vaginalis-induced epithelial monolayer destruction and HIV-1 replication: implications for the sexual transmission of HIV-1. Infect. Immun. 73:4155-4160, 2005.

    Abner, S.R., Guenthner, P.C., Guarner, J., Hancock, K.A., Cummins, Jr., J.E., Fink, A., Gilmore, G.T., Staley, C., Ward, A., Ali, O., Binderow, S., Cohen, S., Grohskopf, L.A., Paxton, L., Hart, C.E., and Dezzutti, C.S. A human colorectal explant culture to evaluate topical microbicides for the prevention of HIV infection. J. Infect. Dis. 192:1545-1556, 2005.

    Bower, W., Culver, D.H., Castor, D., Wu, Y., James, V.N., Hammer, S., Kuhnert, W.L., Williams, I.T., Bell, B.P., Vlahov, D., and Dezzutti, C.S. Suppression of HIV RNA titers with HAART results in elevated HCV RNA titers in HIV/HCV coinfected patients. J. AIDS 42:293-297, 2006.

    Cummins, Jr., J.E., Christensen, L., Lennox, J.L., Bush, T.J., Wu, Z., Malamud, D., Evans-Strickfaden, T., Siddig, A., Caliendo, A.M., Hart, C.E., and Dezzutti, C.S. Mucosal innate immune factors in the female genital tract are associated with vaginal HIV-1 shedding independent of plasma viral load. AIDS Res. Hum. Retroviruses 22:788-795, 2006.

    Cummins, Jr., J.E., Guarner, J., Flowers, L., Guenthner, P.C., Bartlett, J., Morken, T., Grohskopf, L.A., Paxton, L., and Dezzutti, C.S. Preclinical testing of candidate topical microbicides for anti-HIV-1 activity and tissue toxicity in a human cervical explant culture. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 51:1770-1779, 2007.

    Roth, S., Monsour, M., Dowland, A., Guenthner, P.C., Hancock, K., Ou, C.-Y., and Dezzutti, C.S. Effect of topical microbicides on infectious HIV-1 binding to epithelial cells. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 51:748-754, 2007.


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