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Dr. Karyn Scissum Gunn

Karyn Scissum Gunn, Ph.D.
Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Professor of Microbiology
Alabama State University • 915 South Jackson Street • Montgomery, AL  36101
334-229-4232 (voice) • 334-229-1007 (FAX) 



Dr. Karyn Scissum Gunn earned the Ph.D. degree in Molecular Genetics (minor Biochemistry) from Auburn University, where her research focused upon mitochondrial DNA replication and recombination higher plants. She completed her undergraduate studies in Biology and master’s degree in Cell Biology from Tuskegee University. She also provides oversight to the ASU Biomedical Research and Training Programs and is director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Program. As a professor and scientist, Dr. Scissum Gunn has an extensive research agenda that focuses upon genetically engineered transgenic protein subunits from infectious agents and their potential development as mucosally-delivered vaccines. Her research projects have specifically focused upon surface proteins known to play a role in host immune responses from the avian influenza virus, reovirus, infectious bursal disease virus, as well as Chlamydia trachomatis, the bacterial pathogen that causes ocular trachoma and pelvic inflammatory disease in humans. The research strategies include construction of bacterial and eukaryotic recombinant protein expression libraries, development of transgenic yeast and plant systems, ELISA permutations, reverse and real-time PCR, in vitro and in vivo immunogenesis and immunoprotection techniques, epitope mapping, immunofluorescence and high-resolution atomic force microscopy of recombinant protein topography. Dr. Scissum Gunn also collaborates with other faculty on the delivery of nanoparticle-encapsulated anti-Chlamydia peptides in an animal model, including development and use of targeted peptides in combination with nanoparticles [poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) and monophosholipid A (MPLA) ]as delivery vehicles to study immune responses in mice. Dr. Scissum Gunn’s research collaborations include scientists at Auburn University, Brigham Young University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Arizona State University, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, University College Dublin, Ireland.

Academic and Administrative appointments:

2014 - Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Professor of Microbiology
2010 - 2014 Professor and Chair, Department of Biological Sciences and Executive Director, ASU Biomedical Research and Training Programs
2009 - 2010 Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Executive Director, ASU Biomedical Research and Training Programs
2008 - 2009  Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
2001 - 2008 Director, ASU Biomedical Research and Training Programs
2001 - 2008  Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences
2001 - 2008  Director, ASU Biomedical Research and Training Programs
1998 - 2001  Dean, University College
1997 - 1998  Interim Dean, University College
1996 - 1998  Department Chair, Mathematics and Science, University College

Present students:
Shannon Davis, Ph.D. student (microbiology), Alabama State University (committee member)
James Stokes, Ph.D. student (microbiology), Alabama State University (secondary advisor)

Past students:
Wu Hongzhuan (postdoctoral fellow; now associate professor of biology, Alabama State University); Ping Zhou, Ph.D. (committee member); Sabita Saldanha, Ph.D. (committee member); Latoya Gilbert M.S. (committee member); Kendra Bolden, M.S. (committee member); Bouchra Missoum, M.S. (committee member); Kara Hulett , M.S. (committee member); Latasha King, B.S. Candie Frett, B.S, Anthony Robbins  B.S.,Natoya Henry; B.S., Caryn Barnes, B.S. (undergraduate research students).

Selected Publications:

  • Scissum Gunn K, Singh N, Giambrone J and Wu H. 2012. Using transgenic plants as bioreactors to produce edible vaccines. J Biotech Res 4: 92 – 99.
  • WuH, Scissum Gunn K, Singh NK, OuS-C and Giambrone J. 2011. Yeast-derived avian influenza virus hemagglutinin protein induced immune response in SPF chicken. J. Animal Vet. Adv.10 (8):999-1002.
  • Wu  H, Gunn KS, Singh SR, Singh NK, Ou S-C and Giambrone JJ. 2011. A DNA vaccine against an H1N1 avian influenza virus induced humoral and cell-mediated immunity in SPF chickens. J. Biotechnol Res. 3:27-36.
  • Wu, H., Williams, K., Singh, Shree, Scissum Gunn, K., Singh, N., Dormitorio T, and Giambrone, J. 2009. Integrity of a recombinant protein of an avian influenza virus. Biotechnol Lett. DOI 10.1007/s10529-009-0047-9.
  • Wu, H., Scissum Gunn K., Singh, N. and Giambrone, J. 2009. Toward the development of plant-based vaccines against reovirus. Avian Dis. 53(3):376-381.
  •  Wu H, Williams K, Singh S, Scissum Gunn K, Singh N, Dormitorio T and Giambrone J. 2009. Integrity of a recombinant hemagglutinin protein of an avian influenza virus.
    Biotechnol. Lett. 31(10):1511-1517.
  • Manchekar M, Scissum Gunn K, Hammett L, Backert S and Nielsen N. 2009. Mitochondrial DNA recombination in Brassica campestris. Plant Sci. 177(6): 629-635.
  • Singh SR, Hulett KJ, Pillai SR, Marsh S, Dennis V, Oh MK and Scissum Gunn K. 2006. Intravaginal and intranasal immunization with recombinant MOMP-¬cholera toxin subunit B confers protection against Chlamydia trachomatis infection. Vaccine 24: 1213-1224.
  • Manchekar M, Scissum Gunn K, Song D, Khazi F, McLean S, and Nielsen B. 2006. DNA recombination activity in soybean mitochondria. J. Mol. Biol. 356: 288-299.|
  • Wu H, Williams Y, Gunn KS, Singh NK, Locy RD and Giambrone JJ. 2005. Yeast¬-derived sigma C protein-induced immunity against avian reovirus. Avian Dis. 49: 281-284.
  • Wu H, Singh NK, Locy R, Scissum Gunn K and Giambrone JJ. 2004. Expression of immunogenic VP2 protein of infectious bursal disease virus in Arabidopsis thaliana. Biotechnol. Lett. 26: 787-792.
  • Wu H, Singh NK, Locy R, Scissum Gunn K, and Giambrone JJ. 2004. Immunization of chickens with VP2 protein of infectious bursal disease virus expressed in Arabidopsis thaliana. Avian Dis. 48: 663-668.
  •  Wu H, Singh NK, Locy R, Gunn KS, and Giambrone J. 2004. Comparison of avian reovirus Sl genes. J. Animal Vet. Adv. 3: 325-329.
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