A. Oveta Fuller, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

In memoriam 


A scientist’s fight against viral misinformation by Chelsey Spriggs, Ph.D., and Ariangela Kozik, Ph.D.
Professor A. Oveta Fuller spent her career battling against the myths surrounding HIV and COVID. Two of her mentees reflect on her legacy


GCC Zambia 2012 Final-video.mov

Areas of Interest

Human Virus Entry, Pathogenesis and Infection Preventions

Our laboratory based research has sought to understand molecular mechanisms of how human pathogenic viruses enter into cells to mediate infection, membrane fusion and spread, and how these affect replication, pathogenesis and disease. The studies include exploring mechanisms of entry and early events for human herpesviruses- HSV-1 and HSV-2 . In conjunction with chemical engineering and human genetics researchers we have sought to develop microchip technologies for rapid and inexpensive detection of genetic variations in influenza virus. Experimental systems that examine viral entry, cellular receptors, pathogenesis, protein structure/function and fusion of biological membranes are used to determine possible approaches to control or prevent infection by viral pathogens. We seek to apply fundamental molecular information to development of new anti-virals, detection of genetic variation, and development of community based interventions for infectious disease prevention.

A recent focus in Preventive Medicine and Medical Education is use of a science-based HIV/AIDS intervention through religious leader networks to actively address infectious disease health disparities. Specifically, we seek to validate effectiveness of a prevention model designated the "Trusted Messenger Intervention" (TMI) that reframes HIV as a virus infection that can be controlled. TMI works with clergy and faith leaders within official established networks so they become more confident to use their substantial community access and influence to effectively address HIV/AIDS.

A major objective of this community-based research is to build capacity of clergy and religious leaders to take biomedical research advances into their community organizations. This is one way to link science and medical based understanding with group and individual actions. Outcomes of TMI are measured by surveys and focus groups for effects on HIV/AIDS stigma, increase in understanding of HIV/AIDS and increase in completion of HIV voluntary counseling and testing (VCT). VCT is a key step in stopping virus transmission and reducing the incidence and death from AIDS and other preventable diseases.

This collaborative and community based research focus is with public health faculty colleagues and community religious networks and community faith leaders in Zambia, Botswana and South Africa. Recent study sites in the USA have been identified in work with the Center for AIDS Research at Vanderbilt University and Meharry Medical College. 

Published Articles or Reviews

Fuller, A.O. and W.C. Lee (1992). Herpes simplex virus type 1 entry through a cascade of virion-cell interactions requires different roles of gD and gH in penetration. J. Virology 66(8):5002-12.

Perez, A. and A.O. Fuller. (1998) Stable attachment for herpes simplex Virus entry requires gD in the virion and receptors that are missing on entry-defective porcine cells. Virus Research 58:21-34.

Fuller, A. O. and Pilar Perez-Romero. (2002) Mechanisms of human DNA virus infection: entry and early events. Frontiers in Bioscience 7:d390-406.

Fuller, A.O. "The Biology of AIDS". (2004). In HIV and AIDS: A Global Pandemic and the Village Crisis. (Editor, P. Jones-Penn, Corporate Press, Inc. Landover, M.D.) p. 113-120.

Perez-Romero, P., A. Perez, A. A. Capul, N., R. Montgomery and A. O. Fuller. (2005). Herpesvirus entry mediator (HVEM) associates in infected cells in a complex with viral protein gD and at least gH. J. Virology 79(7): 4549-4544.

Perez, A., Q.-X. Li, P. Perez-Romero, G. Delassus, N. McLaren, S. Sutter, and A. O. Fuller. (2005) A new class of cellular receptor for herpes simplex virus has heptad repeats common to membrane fusion proteins. J. Virology. 79(10): 7419-7430.

Perez-Romero, P. and A.O. Fuller. (2005) The C-terminal coiled coil predicted in the B5 receptor protein functions in herpes simplex virus infection. J. Virology 79(10): 7431-37.

M. Burns, R. Pal, M. Yang, R. Lin, B.N. Johnson, N. Srivastava, S.Z. Razzacki, K.J. Chomistek, D. Heldsinger, R. M. Haque, V. Ugaz, P. Thwar, Z. Chen, K. Alfano, M.-B. Yim, M. Krishnan, A.O. Fuller, R. Larson, D.Burke, (2005) An integrated microfluidic device for influenza and other genetic analyses, Lab Chip, 5(10): 1024-1032.

Estes, D.J., S.R. Lopez, A.O.Fuller and M. Mayer. (2006) Triggering fusion of membranes in microfluidic chambers, Biophysics J. 91(1):233-243.

Fuller, A.O. (2007) Managing Health Care Well: The Stewardship of the Black Church, in Healthcare Resources for Addressing HIV/AIDS: A Payne Theological Seminary Model. (E. Croom, W. Augman, O. Fuller, L Fitchue. In The Anvil: Managing Well 2007-2008. published by the AMEC Council of Bishops. The African Methodist Episcopal Church, Nashville,TN).

Brown, O.J., S. Lopez, A.O. Fuller and T. Goodson III. (2007) Formation and reversible dissociation of coiled coil of peptide to the C-terminus of the HSV B5 protein: time-resolved spectroscopic and non-linear optical analysis. Biophysics J 93(3):1068-78.

Poecht, T., S. Lopez, A.O. Fuller, M. Sullivan, R. Larson (2008). Adsorption and elution characteristics of nucleic acids on silica surfaces and their use in designing a miniaturized purification unit, Analytical Biochemistry. 373:253-262.

Fuller, A.O. (2008). Breaking the Silence: A science-based prevention intervention that empowers faith leaders to address challenges of HIV/AIDS. J. of the Interdenominational Theological Center. 35 (1-2:191-202.

J. M. Wiginton, E. J. King, and A. O. Fuller (2018) ‘We can act different from what we used to’: Findings from experiences of religious leader participants in an HIV-prevention intervention in Zambia, Global Public Health, 14:5, 636-648, DOI: 10.1080/17441692.2018.1524921

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