Gus Kousoulas

Konstantin "Gus" Kousoulas

Department Head, Director of the Division of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine (BIOMMED), and Professor

Department of Pathobiological Sciences

LSU School of Veterinary Medicine
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803






In the News




PhD, Pennsylvania State University, 1981

MS, Pennsylvania State University, 1977

BS, Fairleigh Dickinson University, 1975

Research Interest

My primary research interests are focused on the molecular biology and pathogenesis of herpes simplex viruses (HSV) and bovine herpesvirus-1 (BHV-1). Specifically, I seek to define the molecular mechanisms that control attachment and penetration of these viruses into susceptible cells (including cells of neuronal origin), their ability to replicate and spread from cell to cell, and the role of membrane fusion events in intracellular virion transport and egress. Our experimental approach utilizes advanced molecular biology, molecular genetics and cell biology. Briefly, mutant herpesviruses deficient in a particular function are isolated through generalized mutagenesis, site-specific mutagenesis of viral genomes cloned into bacterial artificial chromosomes (BAC). These engineered viruses are studied to learn about the role of specific virus encoded proteins in host cell attachment, penetration, virus induced cell fusion virion assembly and egress. To analyze the role of specific viral genes in virus penetration and virusK. induced cell fusion these genes are expressed in transient, eukaryotic expression systems and the expressed proteins are detected using specific monoclonal antibodies produced in my laboratory. In addition, monoclonal and monospecific sera against viral proteins are utilized to locate their target proteins in infected cells using confocal and immunoelectron microscopy and to analyze their structure and function.

A second major recent interest of my laboratory is the use of viral vectors for cancer immunotherapy and vaccine purposes. Currently, projects include the generation of oncolytic recombinant herpes simplex virus vectors to combat breast cancer, as well as the use of virus-like particles for the delivery of oncolytic drugs. These viruses are tested in zenograft mouse models using human breast cancer cells as well as in syngeneic mouse models for melanoma and breast cancer. A vaccine against HSV-1 and HSV-2 genital and ocular infections is also being pursued (patent awarded, November 2018). Also, we have produced viral-vectored vaccines for influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and malaria that are being tested in animal models. 

Other interests include the structure and function of fusogenic viral glycoproteins with specific interest in the Spike (S) glycoprotein of SARS-CoV2, the application of next generation sequencing approaches for the diagnosis of infectious disease pathogens and genetic diseases of humans and animals, biophysical and genetic approaches to analyze the structure and function of proteins, and the utilization of computers for computational biology/bioinformatics research and teaching. 

Teaching Interest

Teaching expertise and research interests are in the areas of molecular and cellular biology, virology, genetics, cancer biology and immunology and nanomedicine. We live in an era that demands change in the way teaching of molecular biology, biotechnology and related disciplines is performed for undergraduate, medical, veterinary, and graduate level courses. The rapid growth of molecular biological knowledge and next generation technologies constitute powerful forces for change. Biotechnology is heavily dependent on molecular biology and genetic principles as well as increasingly focusing on concepts that cut across scientific fields including chemistry, physics, engineering, mathematics and information science. I believe that classroom and instruction need to adapt to these changing times by emphasizing flexibility, critical thinking and problem solving in an interactive and interdisciplinary environment that places students and faculty as partners working side-by-side in learning endeavors.

Clinical Interest

Development of novel diagnostics and therapeutics for infectious diseases of animals and humans

Awards & Honors

2020, Fellow of the American Academy of Inventors

2013, Special recognition by Southern University, A&M College for training minority 
faculty and students during the last 10 years

Special salutation by the Dean of the College of Basic Sciences, Louisiana

2003-2005, State University for achieving the highest rating of student evaluation for the Introductory Virology (This course was voluntarily taught by Dr. K. G. Kousoulas).

2001, Special salutation by the Dean of the College of Basic Sciences for achieving the highest rating of student evaluation for the instructor and the course (9.6 of 10 pts) for the undergraduate course BIOL4190 Introductory Virology

1999, LSU Distinguished Faculty Award (for campus-wide teaching excellence), Louisiana State University

Aesculapian Lecturer in Recognition of Distinguished Achievement, LSU School of Veterinary Medicine

1990, Beecham Award for Research Excellence

2004 and 2010, Certificate of Appreciation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health

1999, Certificate of Appreciation, Council on Research, Louisiana State University 


Nabi, R, Chouljenko, VN, Collantes, T. Kousoulas, KG. 2021. Intramuscular vaccination 
with the HSV-1(VC2) Live-attenuated Vaccine Strain Confers Protection against Viral 
Ocular Immunopathogenesis Associated with γδT Cell Intracorneal Infiltration. Frontiers in 
Immunology (In Press).

Jambunathan N, Clark CM, Musarrat F, Chouljenko VN, Rudd J, Kousoulas KG. 2021. 
Two Sides to Every Story: Herpes Simplex Type-1 Viral Glycoproteins gB, gD, gH/gL, 
gK, and Cellular Receptors Function as Key Players in Membrane Fusion. Viruses 13.

Stanfield BA, Kousoulas KG, Fernandez A, Gershburg E. 2021. Rational Design of 
Live-Attenuated Vaccines against Herpes Simplex Viruses. Viruses 13.

Uche IK, Kousoulas KG, Rider PJF. 2021. The Effect of Herpes Simplex Virus-Type-1 
(HSV-1) Oncolytic Immunotherapy on the Tumor Microenvironment. Viruses 13.

Roy T, Boateng ST, Banang-Mbeumi S, Singh PK, Basnet P, Chamcheu RN, Ladu F, 
Chauvin I, Spiegelman VS, Hill RA, Kousoulas KG, Nagalo BM, Walker AL, Fotie J, 
Murru S, Sechi M, Chamcheu JC. 2021. Identification of new fisetin analogs as kinase 
inhibitors: Data on synthesis and anti-skin cancer activities evaluation. Data Brief 

Musarrat F, Chouljenko V, Kousoulas KG. 2021. Cellular and Viral Determinants of 
HSV-1 Entry and Intracellular Transport towards Nucleus of Infected Cells. J Virol 

Roy T, Boateng ST, Banang-Mbeumi S, Singh PK, Basnet P, Chamcheu RN, Ladu F, 
Chauvin I, Spiegelman VS, Hill RA, Kousoulas KG, Nagalo BM, Walker AL, Fotie J, 
Murru S, Sechi M, Chamcheu JC. 2021. Synthesis, inverse docking-assisted 
identification and in vitro biological characterization of Flavonol-based analogs of fisetin 
as c-Kit, CDK2 and mTOR inhibitors against melanoma and non-melanoma skin 
cancers. Bioorg Chem 107:104595.

Rudd JS, Musarrat F, Kousoulas KG. 2021. Development of a reliable bovine neuronal 
cell culture system and labeled recombinant bovine herpesvirus type-1 for studying 
virus-host cell interactions. Virus Res 293:198255.

Uche IK, Fowlkes N, Vu L, Watanabe T, Carossino M, Nabi R, Del Piero F, Rudd JS, 
Kousoulas KG, Rider PJF. 2021. Novel Oncolytic Herpes Simplex Virus 1 VC2 
Promotes Long-Lasting, Systemic Anti-melanoma Tumor Immune Responses and 
Increased Survival in an Immunocompetent B16F10-Derived Mouse Melanoma Model. 
J Virol 95.

Musarrat F, Chouljenko V, Dahal A, Nabi R, Chouljenko T, Jois SD, Kousoulas KG. 
2020. The anti-HIV drug nelfinavir mesylate (Viracept) is a potent inhibitor of cell fusion 
caused by the SARSCoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein warranting further evaluation as an 
antiviral against COVID-19 infections. J Med Virol 92:2087-2095. 

Grant Funding

2P20-GM103424-19. Louisiana Biomedical Research Network (LBRN). 09/25/01 - 04/30/25 
$3,597,913-total costs (2021). Role: PI

Louisiana Board of Regents: Supplemental Funding for LBRN’s summer program. 09/25/01 - 
04/30/25. $200,000-total costs (2021). Role: PI

1P20GM130555-03. Center for Lung Biology and Disease (Lung COBRE; Jeyseelan, PI). 
$2,246,019-total costs (2021). 01/02/2019 - 12/31/2023. Role Co-Investigator and Director of 
the Molecular and Cell Biology Core.

1P20 GM135000-01A1. Center for Pre-Clinical Cancer Research (Cancer-COBRE; Francis, 

$2,467,250-total costs (2021). 03/01/2021 -02/28/2026. Role: Co-investigator and Director of 
the Molecular and Cellular Immunopathology Core.

NSF FAIN 2031794 “RAPID. Understanding SARS-CoV-2 transmission through a novel 
continuous system (Pahar, PI). $200,000-total costs (2020-2022). Role: Co-PI. 
Protheragen, Inc. Academic Research Agreement. Cloning of VZV genome into a bacterial 
chromosome plasmid. $65,000-total costs (2021). Role: PI

Protheragen Inc. Academic Research Agreement. Construction of a recombinant HSV-1. 
$60,000 (2021-2022). Role: PI.