Calvin Lee Keeler

Department of Animal and Food Sciences

University of Delaware

040 Townsend Hall
Newark, DE 19717-1303

Phone: (302) 831-2524
Fax: (302) 831-2822

  • Ph.D., Biological Sciences, University of Maryland Baltimore County: 1987
    M.S., Microbiology, Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University: 1979
    B.S., Biology, Tufts University: 1972

Research Overview:

Dr. Keeler’s primary research focus is on the application of both classical genetic techniques and contemporary genomic technologies to poultry disease research, with specific emphasis on the initial interactions of avian pathogens with the chicken immune system. Specific projects are targeted to understanding the functions of avian herpesvirus gene products important for pathogenicity and immunogenicity and the critical interactions between these proteins and cells from the host.

Dr. Keeler’s laboratory is currently evaluating an avian macrophage EST library. This set of ESTs has been used to construct a DNA microarray on glass slides. This microarray is initially being used to study pathogen-host interactions by profiling changes in macrophage gene expression in chickens after infection with Eimeria acervulina, Mycoplasma gallisepticum or infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV). The EST library has also led to the identification of novel avian genes involved in eliciting/modulating the avian immune response.

The laboratory also uses the avian herpesviruses to study viral gene products important in pathogenicity. Dr. Keeler’s group has recently found that avian herpesviruses such as ILTV and Marek’s disease virus (MDV) do not attach to susceptible avian cells through an initial interaction with cell surface heparan sulfate containing proteoglycans. This information is being used to search for specific herpesvirus receptors that could then lead to the development of novel methods for controlling infection.

Before coming to the University of Delaware, Dr. Keeler was a visiting scientist at E.I. du Pont de Nemours, and prior to that he was a senior scientist and co-founder of IGENE, Inc., a biotechnology firm located in Columbia, MD.