Associate Director, African Studies Center (2014- present)
Co-coordinator, STEM-Africa Initiatve- African Studies Center
Ph.D. 1983. UNC-CH. Microbiology and Immunology. Postdoc training- The University of Chicago. Virology.
My global health research seeks to rigorously document impacts of sustainable intervention models for effective implementation of biomedical science advances in communities to prevent or reduce burden of infectious and chronic diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
Scholarships, grants, fellowships, and recognitions have included awards from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the U.S. Department of State. Community service awards include the Robert Smith Humanitarian Award (2005, 2014), a Global Humanitarian Award (2014)and an Outstanding Service Award in Microbiology and Ministry (2004) from the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC). As part of translating biomedical advances for practical implementation, since 2012, I write a weekly column “Getting to Zero” about HIV/AIDS elimination and wellness for the official AMEC global publication.
As a Fulbright Faculty Scholar (2012-13) working in the Copperbelt region of Zambia, we completed a cross-over validaity study on impact of the Trusted Messenger Intervention approach on how religious leaders networks address HIV and AIDS in their communities. Since 2010, an immersion course "Global Impact of Microbes: Fieldwork" engages U-M undergraduates in this research.
We seek to develop sustainable models to translate biomedical science advances into practical use for control of infectious and chronic diseases. Current studies engage global networks of religious leaders to help eliminate HIV/AIDS using the Trusted Messenger Intervention (TMI) to increase prevention efforts. TMI uses fundamental principles from virology, social network theory, health behavior/health education and theology to reframe HIV/AIDS for religous leaders as community gatekeepers. Through rigorous studies in targeted regions of Zambia, we seek to document impact, validate and define key elements of TMI as a low-cost highly effective vehicle for implementing biomedical advances.
Expected short-term outcomes with HIV/AIDS are (1) increased completion of HIV testing and counseling, (2) increased linkage and access to medical care and (3) sustained leader engagement with available resources to effectively address medical, socio-behavioral and economic issues. Long-term expected outcomes are reduced new HIV infections and decreased AIDS diagnoese and deaths from AIDS-related complications in a targeted research area.
We envision that such a network approach can be adapted to use trusted messenger gatekeepers in almost any community to address high priority preventable infections or chronic medical or environmental issues. Some of the most obvious where vaccines or interventions are well-established include measles, infant mortality, malaria, cholera, diarrheal diseases, cervical cancer, some other types of cancer, fistula, cardiovascular disease or hepatitis.
My laboratory research sought to understand molecular mechanisms of how human pathogenic viruses enter into cells to mediate early events of infection, membrane fusion and spread, and how these affect disease. Laboratory-based studies with herpesviruses (HSV-1, HSV-2, PRV) and influenza virus examined virus entry, cellular receptors, herpesvirus tropism and pathogenesis, protein structure/function, membrane fusion, genetic variation and approaches to control diseases from microbial pathogens.
Fitchue, L and A.O. Fuller (2011). â€œWhy Teach a Seminary Course on HIV/AIDS: Payne Theological Seminaryâ€™s Innovation in Curriculum Delivery.â€ù The Anvil: Innovation (published by the AMEC Council of Bishops. The African Methodist Episcopal Church, Nashville,TN) ISBN: 978-0-977-1578-3-3 p. 255-296.
Cheshenko N, Trepanier JB, Segarra TJ, Fuller AO, Herold BC, (2010) HSV Usurps Eukaryotic Initiation Factor 3 Subunit M for Viral Protein Translation: Novel Prevention Target. PLoS ONE 5(7): e11829. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011829
Fuller, A.O. (2008). Breaking the Silence: A science-based prevention intervention that empowers faith leaders to address challenges of HIV/AIDS. J. Interdenominational Theological Center. 35 (1-2): 191-202.
Perez-Romero, P. and A.O. Fuller. (2005) The C-terminal coiled coil predicted in the B5 receptor protein functions in herpes simplex virus infection. J. Virology 79(10): 7431-37.
Perez-Romero, P., A. Perez, A. A. Capul, N. McLaren, R. Montgomery and A. O. Fuller. (2005) Herpesvirus entry mediator (HVEM) associates in infected cells in a complex with viral protein gD and at least gH. J. Virology 79(7): 4549-4544.