Richard Morrison, Ph.D.

Executive Associate Dean for Research, UAMS College of Medicine

Professor, Microbiology and Immunology

Research Interest:  Immunobiology of Chlamydia Infection
Ph.D., University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma Ph.D. 1982
1986-1988 Special Volunteer, NIH, NIAID, Laboratory of Microbial Structure and Function, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, Hamilton, Montana
1982-1986 Staff Fellow, NIH, NIAID, Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, Hamilton, Montana
Phone: (501) 686-8599
Fax:     (501) 686-5359

Research Description

Chlamydia trachomatis sexually transmitted infections cause considerable morbidity and socioeconomic burden worldwide, despite significant advances in our understanding of the pathogenesis and epidemiology of this bacterial pathogen. Chlamydial urogenital infections are readily cured with antibiotics, but control measures based upon antimicrobial chemotherapy alone are hampered by the frequency of asymptomatic infections and delayed diagnosis. Definitive control of C. trachomatis sexually transmitted diseases is possible through the development of a safe and effective vaccine. A heightened understanding of protective immunity to chlamydial genital infection has emerged this past decade from studies using a mouse model of Chlamydia muridarum infection. The insights gained from studies using the mouse model of infection are of considerable interest because they offer promise for the development of an efficacious vaccine. Using the mouse model of chlamydial genital infection, we have shown that anti-chlamydia antibody markedly protects animals during genital tract reinfection. Our current studies focus on using an immunomics approach to identify chlamydial antigens recognized by the protective convalescent serum; testing recombinant preparations of protective antigens for their ability to induce protective antibody responses; and characterizing the cellular component that interacts with protective antibody to resolve secondary chlamydial reinfection. Sustained control of chlamydial urogenital infections will be achieved only by the development of an efficacious vaccine. Our studies will provide important insight toward achieving that goal.


Giebel AM, Hu S, Rajaram K, Finethy R, Toh E, Brothwell JA, Morrison SG, Suchland RJ, Stein BD, Coers J, Morrison RP, Nelson DE. 2019. Genetic screen in Chlamydia muridarum reveals role for an interferon-induced host cell death program in antimicrobial inclusion rupture. mBio 10:e00385-19.

Morrison SG, Giebel AM, Toh EC, Spencer III HJ, Nelson DE and Morrison RP. Chlamydia muridarum genital and gastrointestinal infection tropism is mediated by distinct chromosomal factors.  Infect. Immun. 2018; 86: e00141-18.

Wang L, Zhu C, Zhang T, Tian Q, Zhang N, Morrison SG, Morrison RP, Xue M, and Zhong G.  Non-pathogenic colonization with Chlamydia in the gastrointestinal tract as oral vaccination for inducing transmucosal protection.  Infect. Immun. 2018 86:e00630-17

Naglak EK, Morrison SG, Morrison RP. 2017. Neutrophils are central to antibody mediated protection against genital chlamydia. Infect Immun 85:e00409-17.

Bakshi R, Gupta K, Jordan SJ, Brown L, Press CG, Gorwitz R, Papp J, Morrison SG, Lee JY, Morrison RP, and Geisler WM. Immunoglobulin-Based Investigation of Spontaneous Resolution of Chlamydia trachomatis Infection. J. Infect. Dis. 2017; 215:1653-1656.

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