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Paul R. (Kip) Kinchington, PhD

Dr. Paul (Kip) Kinchington


Fax: 412-647-5880
1016 Eye and Ear Institute


Post Doc Uniformed Services, University of the Health Sciences

PhD in Microbiology/Virology, University of Leeds, England (UK)

BSc (Hons.) in Microbiology, University of Leeds, England (UK)

Academic Affiliation(s)

Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Department of Molecular Microbiology and Genetics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Member, Fox Center for Vision Restoration, University of Pittsburgh


Dr. Kinchington’s research addresses two human herpesviruses that infect the majority of the population and cause significant vision loss and blindness: Varicella zoster virus  (VZV), the cause of Herpes zoster, debilitating pain and many ocular problems; and Herpes simplex virus type 1, (HSV1) which induces some quarter of a million yearly episodes of blinding stromal keratitis.   Both viruses remain in a latent state in sensory neuronal ganglia, and cause disease upon reactivation.   The interaction of these viruses with the neuron, the host innate/adaptive immune responses and the infected cell is what drives our research. 

Work on VZV is aimed at preventing and treating the common and debilitating pain associated with 90% of zoster (Shingles), a disease most commonly seen in the elderly or immune compromised.  VZV causes more neurological problems than all other human viruses combined.   Our work uses an animal model in which VZV causes signs of pain, anxiety and hypersensitivity to touch and heat, all often seen in zoster patients. We aim to address virological, immunological and physiological changes that occur at the ganglia when VZV induces pain, and new treatment strategies.  Two recent developments are the identification of a virus mutant that prevents VZV from causing pain, and the development of a gene delivery approach to the ganglia that treats VZV induced pain. We are also developing systems to study virus transport and latency in vitro.   The work on HSV-1 is aimed at preventing reactivation of HSV-1 from latency, using a mouse model of HSV ocular infection and latency. We aim to delineate the virology of factors affecting the specificity, activity of a cellular immune infitrate of the latently infected ganglia, which can block reactivation from the latent state.  This may be the only means to reduce HSV-1 reactivation.

Lab Personnel

Michael Yee, BS Research Specialist/lab Manager
Sarah Bidula MS, MA  Research Specialist
Jean Marc Guedon, Graduate student MVM program
Benjamin Treat, Graduate student MVM program
Steve Harvey, PhD Molecular Biology/Bioinformatics Research Specialist
Kimberley Payne, PhD Post doctoral Researcher 

Areas of Interest

HSV and VZV neurotropism, Latency and Pathogenesis; Viral protein kinases and their targets


Kinchington P. R, St Leger A. J, Guedon J. M, and Hendricks R. L. Herpes simplex virus and varicella zoster virus, the house guests who never leave. Herpesviridae. 3: 5. |  View Abstract

Grigoryan S, Kinchington P. R, Yang I. H, Selariu A, Zhu H, Yee M, and Goldstein R. S. Retrograde axonal transport of VZV: kinetic studies in hESC-derived neurons. J Neurovirol. [Epub ahead of print 8/25/12] |  View Abstract

Kinchington P. R, and Goins W. F. Varicella zoster virus-induced pain and post-herpetic neuralgia in the human host and in rodent animal models. J Neurovirol. 17: 590-599. |  View Abstract

Erazo A, Yee M. B, Banfield B. W, and Kinchington P. R. The alphaherpesvirus US3/ORF66 protein kinases direct phosphorylation of the nuclear matrix protein matrin 3. J Virol. 85: 568-581. |  View Abstract

Ramachandran S, Davoli K. A, Yee M. B, Hendricks R. L, and Kinchington P. R. Delaying the expression of herpes simplex virus type 1 glycoprotein B (gB) to a true late gene alters neurovirulence and inhibits the gB-CD8+ T-cell response in the trigeminal ganglion. J Virol. 84: 8811-8820. |  View Abstract

Erazo A, and Kinchington P. R. Varicella-zoster virus open reading frame 66 protein kinase and its relationship to alphaherpesvirus US3 kinases. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 342: 79-98. |  View Abstract

Knickelbein J. E, Khanna K. M, Yee M. B, Baty C. J, Kinchington P. R, Hendricks R. L. Noncytotoxic lytic granule-mediated CD8+ T cell inhibition of HSV-1 reactivation from neuronal latency. Science. 322: 268-271. |  View Abstract