Dr. Nicola is a recognized expert in the cell and molecular biology of virus entry into host cells. He has an active research program in the mechanisms of herpesvirus pathogenesis.
His primary research is in understanding:
- The role of herpes simplex virus (HSV) envelope proteins in membrane fusion during viral entry into epithelial cells and neurons.
- The role of the host cell proteasome during initial stages of infection by HSV. 20S proteasome activity is an appealing target for novel therapeutic approaches.
- Host cell entry of significant global veterinary pathogens including bovine herpesvirus 1 (bovine respiratory disease) and ovine herpesvirus 2 (malignant catarrhal fever).
Dr. Nicola’s long-term goal is to delineate the step-by-step itinerary of herpesviruses as they enter their host cells, with an eye toward developing new strategies for prevention and intervention. He is credited with revealing that herpesviruses utilize low pH endosomal pathways for entry into pathophysiologically relevant cells.
Dr. Nicola is an associate professor of virology in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology and an affilliate faculty member in the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health and WSU School of Molecular Biosciences.