James R. Lokensgard, PhD

Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and International Medicine

James R. Lokensgard

Contact Info


Mailing Address:
689 SE 23rd Avenue
MC2821 Room 3-107
Microbiology Research Facility
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Lab Address:
689 SE 23rd Avenue
MC2821 Room 1-137
Microbiology Research Facility
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Administrative Assistant Name
IDIM Admin

Administrative Phone

Administrative Email

Administrative Fax Number

Fellowship, University of California, Los Angeles, CA

PhD, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Master's Degree, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND

Bachelor's Degree, Saint Cloud State University, Saint Cloud, MN


Research in our neurovirology laboratory specifically investigates the role of CNS-infiltrating peripheral immune cells in driving chronic activation of brain-resident glial cells following viral infection. We are currently investigating the role of CD19(-)CD38(+)CD138(+) plasma cells and antiviral antibodies persisting within the CNS during chronic herpesvirus brain infection. We are also applying our viral brain infection models to study experimental immune reconstitution disease of the CNS (CNS-IRD) using T-cell repopulation of lymphopenic hosts (MAIDS animals) harboring HSV brain infection. As well as in the brain, dysregulated chronic immune activation and immune cell infiltration likely promote analogous nerve damage and neurotoxicity within the lumbar spinal cord (LSC) and dorsal root ganglia (DRG). These findings have led us to new studies on the neuropathogenesis of LP-BM5 retrovirus infection (i.e., MAIDS)-induced peripheral neuropathy.


Research Summary/Interests

  • Viral brain infections

Dr. Lokensgard's laboratory currently performs studies supporting two independent research programs in neurovirology. The first program investigates host defense mechanisms against cytomegalovirus brain infection. Our experiments investigate how glial cell-produced chemokines recruit peripheral lymphocytes into the brain to control intracerebral spread of MCMV. The Laboratory's other program studies the immunoregulation of herpes simplex virus (HSV) encephalitis by microglial cells. We are investigating how chemokines produced by microglial cells in response to HSV infection initiate cascades of neuroimmune responses that result in the serious brain damage seen during herpes encephalitis. Knowledge gained from these studies will increase our understanding of the role of chemokine networks in regulating brain inflammation with the ultimate goal of finding new therapy for serious viral brain infections.


  • Chauhan P, Hu S, Prasad S, Sheng WS, Lokensgard JR. Programmed death ligand-1 induction restrains the CTL response against microglia. Glia 2021; 69: 854-871. PMID: 33128485
  • Prasad S, Hu S, Sheng WS, Chauhan P, Lokensgard JR. Recall responses from brain-resident memory CD8+ T-cells (bTRM) induce reactive gliosis. iScience 2019; 20: 512-526. PMCID: PMC6807101
  • Sheng WS, Chauhan P, Hu S, Prasad S, Lokensgard JR. Antiallodynic effects of cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2R) agonists on retrovirus infection-induced neuropathic pain. Pain Res Manag. 2019; 1-12. Article ID 1260353. PMCID: PMC6637694
  • Prasad S, Lokensgard JR. Brain-resident T-cells following viral infection. Viral Immunol. 2019; 32: 48-54. PMCID: PMC6350058
  • Chauhan P, Lokensgard JR. Glial cell expression of PD-L1. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019; 20: E1677. PMCID: PMC6479336