Professor of Comparative Medicine, Neurology and Pathology
Dr Clements received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Maryland, College Park. She completed two post-doctoral research fellowships in the Departments of Molecular Biology and Genetics (1974-1976) with Dr Bernard Weiss and in Neurology (1976-1978) with Dr Richard Johnson providing training and expertise in molecular biology and virology. Dr Clements' expertise in neurovirology and viral pathogenesis comes from her studies of the animal lentiviruses and their role in chronic neurological diseases. Using these viruses, she developed the first molecular and biochemical tools to study lentivirus molecular biology and was the first to characterize the unusual genome of the lentiviruses.
Dr Clements became the Director of Retrovirus Laboratory at Johns Hopkins in 1992, providing leadership for the faculty, students and postdoctoral fellows in an integrated research program on the pathogenesis of lentivirus infections with emphasis on animal models of AIDS Dementia and central nervous system (CNS) disease.
Research in the Retrovirus Laboratory focuses on the molecular virology and pathogenesis of lentivirus infections. In particular, the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) is used to examine the molecular basis for the pathogenesis of HIV CNS disease. Research projects include studies of viral molecular genetics and host cell genes and proteins involved in the pathogenesis of disease. Further studies of lentivirus infections of macrophages and specific viral pathogenesis in the central nervous system and the lung are of interest. These studies have led us to identify the viral genes that are important in neurovirulence of SIV and the development of CNS disease. The SIV Envelope gene and the NEF gene both play important roles in infection of the CNS. The mechanisms of the action of these proteins in the CNS are complex and are under investigation.