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  • Ritesh Tandon, PhD


    Assistant Professor of Virology 

    Department of Microbiology
    University of Mississippi Medical Center
    2500 North State Street
    Jackson, MS 39216
    Phone: (601) 984-1705   
    Fax: (601) 984-1708

    Education and Training
    PhD, 2005, University of Georgia
    (Advisor: Ray M. Kaplan)
    Postdoctoral, 2006, Johns Hopkins University 
    (Advisor: Prashant J. Desai)
    Postdoctoral, 2012, Emory University 
    (Advisor: Edward S. Mocarski)

    MICRO611 (Medical Microbiology) 
    DENT641 (Dental Microbiology) 
    MICRO702 (Graduate Virology)

    Research interests

    Viral infections pose a major threat to both human and animal populations and designing good antiviral strategies remains challenging. Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a herpesvirus, which spreads by contact and is acquired by majority of the population worldwide by the age of 40 years; however, like most other herpesviruses, it remains in a latent state in healthy individuals without causing any clinical symptoms. Primary HCMV infection or reactivation from latency can cause significant health problems in immuno-compromised individuals such as AIDS patients and organ transplant recipients. HCMV is also the leading infectious cause of congenital disease in newborns. Despite being designated a pathogen of high priority for the development of vaccine by Institute of Medicine, neither a vaccine nor any antiviral agents have been approved yet for treating congenital HCMV infection. Moreover, the drugs that are available for other clinical settings, suffer from safety, efficacy and resistance issues. The development of potential antivirals requires detailed knowledge of the molecular events involved in virus replication. A good antiviral target is the virus assembly and maturation process, a complex series of events that results in the production of infectious virus particles within infected host cells. Earlier, we reported critical viral and host factors that are important for HCMV maturation. Current research is aimed towards providing a detailed understanding of HCMV maturation events. We are also actively involved in search for effective therapeutics to counteract herpesvirus infections using tools in cell biology and nanobiotechnology.
    • Research goals

      The research in Tandon laboratory currently focuses on three different aspects of HCMV infection:

      1. Role of tegument proteins in maintaining HCMV capsid stability.
      2. Mechanisms of virus trafficking in the cell and the role of host factors in virus maturation. 
      3. Inhibition of HCMV infection using tools in nanobiotechnology.

    • HCMV Public health importance

      1. HCMV is the most common cause of congenital infection (1 in 150 children) in the USA. In pregnant women, HCMV infection may result in premature birth, infant death or more commonly the birth defects or developmental abnormalities that may appear at birth or later in life. 
      2. HCMV is the most important infectious cause of allograft rejection in heart transplant recipients and is implicated in several other cardiovascular conditions such as atherosclerosis and hypertension. 
      3. HCMV retinitis is common and often sight threatening in AIDS patients. 
      4. Reactivation of latent HCMV is associated with graft rejection in organ/stem cell transplant recipients.
      5. HCMV infection is associated with a type of infectious mononucleosis.
      6. Although not oncogenic, HCMV is believed to be an oncomodulatory virus. A link between HCMV infection and certain malignant brain tumors (glioblastoma, medulloblastoma and neuroblastoma) as well as breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer and ovarian cancer has been proposed.

      More public health information at

    Recent publications

    • Tandon R*., Mocarski E.S., Conway, J.F. (2015), The A, B, Cs of Herpesvirus Capsids. Viruses. 7(3), 899-914. [*Corresponding Author]

    • Baldwin J, Maus E, Zanotti B, Volin MV, Tandon R, Shukla D, Tiwari V. (2015), A role for 3-O sulfated heparan sulfate in promoting human cytomegalovirus infection in human iris cell. Journal of Virology. 89(9): 5185-92. 

    • Derussy B.M., Aylward M.A., Fan Z., Ray P.C., and Tandon R*. (2014), Inhibition of cytomegalovirus infection and photothermolysis of infected cells using bioconjugated gold nanoparticles. Scientific Reports. 4, 5550. [*Corresponding Author]

    • Brechtel T., Mocarski E.S., and Tandon R*. (2014), Highly acidic C-terminal region of cytomegalovirus pUL96 determines its functions during virus maturation independent of a direct pp150 interaction. Journal of Virology, 88(8): 4493-503. [*Corresponding Author]

    • Brechtel T., Tyner M., Tandon R*. (2013), Complete Genome Sequence of a UL96 mutant cytomegalovirus Towne-Bacterial Artificial Chromosome Isolate Allowed To Accumulate Compensatory Mutations by Passaging in Fibroblasts. GenomeA, 1(5), e00901-13. [*Corresponding Author]

    • Brechtel T., Tyner M., Tandon R*. (2013), Complete genome sequence of a cytomegalovirus Towne-BAC isolate maintained in E. coli for ten years and then serially passaged in human fibroblasts. GenomeA, 1(5), e00693-13. [*Corresponding Author]

    • Tandon R*., Mocarski E.S. Viral and host control of cytomegalovirus maturation. 2012. Trends in Microbiology, 20(8), p. 392-401. [*Corresponding Author]

    • Tandon R*., Mocarski E.S. Cytomegalovirus pUL96 is critical for the stability of pp150-associated nucleocapsids. 2011. Journal of Virology, 85(14), p. 7129-41. [*Corresponding Author; Journal of Virology Cover Image, September, 2011, 85(18)]

    • Tandon R*., Aucoin D.P., Mocarski E.S., Human cytomegalovirus exploits ESCRT machinery in the process of virion maturation. 2009. Journal of Virology, 83(20), p. 10797-807. [*Corresponding Author]

    • Tandon R., Mocarski E.S., Cytomegalovirus tegument protein pp150 control of cytoplasmic maturation events. 2008. Journal of Virology. 82(19), p. 9433-44.

    • Tandon R., LePage K. and Kaplan R.M. Cloning and characterization of genes encoding alpha and beta subunits of glutamate gated chloride channel (GluCl) protein in Cylicocyclus nassatus. 2006. Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology. 150(1): p. 46-55.

    • Tandon R., Lyons E.T., Tolliver S.C. and Kaplan R.M. Effect of moxidectin selection on the genetic variation within Cylicocyclus nassatus based on amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP). 2005. International Journal for Parasitology. 35, p. 813-819.

    • Tandon R. and Kaplan R.M. Evaluation of an in vitro larval development assay (DrenchRite®) for the detection of anthelmintic resistance in cyathostomins of horses. 2004. Veterinary Parasitology. 121(1-2) p. 125-142.

    For updated publications list please follow the PubMed link.


    • American Heart Association: National Scientist Development Grant (PI: Tandon)
    • American Heart Association: Predoctoral Fellowship (PI: Derussy)
    • University of Mississippi Medical Foundation (PI: Tandon)