Mojgan Naghavi, PhD
Associate Professor in Microbiology-Immunology
Dr. Naghavi’s research has had a long-term focus on host factors that regulate HIV-1 infection in a variety of cell types, including microglia and primary neurons. Early work discovered that the neuronal protein FEZ-1 regulates early HIV-1 infection. She has since gone on to show that FEZ1 acts as a microtubule (MT) motor adaptor protein that associates with HIV-1 capsids and regulates inward movement of viral particles to the nucleus. Dr. Naghavi have also uncovered fundamental aspects of how HIV-1 regulates MT behavior to facilitate infection and the host factors involved. This includes MT plus-end binding proteins and actin-MT cross-linkers involved in initiating virus transport. Moreover, She discovered that HIV-1 infection was regulated by PDZD8, a poorly understood protein whose biological function was unknown prior to her discovery of its role in regulating MT stability. Beyond HIV-1, Dr. Naghavi has also discovered how neurotropic viruses such as Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV-1) exploit MTs to facilitate their replication.