Chandra Menendez, PhD

University of Oklahoma


Dr. Chandra Menendez is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Dr. Madeleine Cunningham’s Laboratory. Her primary research focus is to understand the autoimmune pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders. Her neuroimmunology and infectious disease background provide a unique angle aimed at investigating the relationship between neural inflammation-mediated autoimmunity and cognitive and/or behavioral disorders. She is currently exploring autoreactive humoral responses and their biological impact on neuropsychiatric disorders including Sydenham Chorea, Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS), and related disorders. Clinically, PANDAS, and SC share overlapping clinical manifestations, etiology, genetic vulnerabilities, and CNS inflammation which can present as a basal ganglia encephalitis. She aspires to continue the legacy of Dr. Cunningham’s impressive contribution to science, commitment to mentorship, and pioneering work in autoimmune-related mechanisms and sequelae from infectious diseases.

BRAIN Funded Projects

Defining comorbidities in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Identifying biomarkers and advance the identification and treatment of basal ganglia comorbidities in ASD

Recent & Selected Publications

Menendez CM, Carr DJJ. Herpes simplex virus-1 infects the olfactory bulb shortly following ocular infection and exhibits a long-term inflammatory profile in the form of effector and HSV-1-specific T cells. J Neuroinflammation. 2017;14(1):124. Published 2017 Jun 23. doi:10.1186/s12974-017-0903-9 Read abstract

Menendez CM, Carr DJJ. Defining nervous system susceptibility during acute and latent herpes simplex virus-1 infection. J Neuroimmunol. 2017;308:43-49. doi:10.1016/j.jneuroim.2017.02.020 Read abstract

Menendez CM, Jinkins JK, Carr DJ. Resident T Cells Are Unable To Control Herpes Simplex Virus-1 Activity in the Brain Ependymal Region during Latency. J Immunol. 2016;197(4):1262-1275. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1600207 Read abstract

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