Joan E. Nichols, PhD

Associate Director for Research

DivisionInfectious Disease
DepartmentInternal Medicine

Joan E. Nichols Ph.D. is a Professor of Internal Medicine, and Microbiology and Immunology and the Associate Director of the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. She has been involved in research projects looking at the alterations in the human immune response to microbial pathogens since 1985.  Her work highlights response of the lung after exposure to pollutants and/or respiratory pathogens and she has expertise in the areas of general immunology, inflammation, disease pathogenesis, stem cell characterization/differentiation and stem cell treatments, healing following traumatic injury to the brain or lungs and lung immune defense.  Dr. Nichols has been using adult and embryonic stem cells as well as tissue engineering techniques to produce human ex-vivo organoids/tissue constructs to use as human model systems to study disease pathogenesis and the human response to respiratory pathogens such as avian-influenza and other biosafety level 2 and 3 and 4 pathogens. A recent publication highlights the use of acellular whole lung scaffolds to produce lung tissue and to bioengineer human lungs.
Research Interests
• Development of Bioengineered lung
• Evaluation of microbiome of the lung and respiratory system
• Influence of spaceflight on lung tissue survival and repair 
• Use of bioengineered Human Organ Culture (HOC) models to study disease pathogenesis
• Stem Cell Therapies (for traumatic brain injury or lung)
• Basic Pathogenesis of RNA and selected DNAViruses: 
  Orthomyxoviruses (Influenza Virus)
  Paramyxoviruses (Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Parainfluenza) 
  HIV and Epstein Barr Virus
• Lung Function/Host Defense of the lung 
Degree/Training CompletedYearName & Location
B.S.1979State University of New York at Geneseo, Geneseo, N.Y
M.A.1981State University of New York at Geneseo, Geneseo, N.Y
Ph.D.1999University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas