Fernando Monroy

Monroy 2014 120X170

Phone: 928-523-0042
Email: Fernando.Monroy@nau.edu
Office: Wettaw, bldg. 88, room 236
More info: www2.nau.edu/~fpm/ 

Research/teaching interests


  • immunity to parasites
  • infectious diseases
  • host-pathogen interactions


  • microbiology
  • immunobiology
  • parasitic zoonosis
  • infectious diseases

Academic highlights

  • Postdoctoral: University of New Mexico, 2000-2002
  • Postdoctoral: Baylor College of Medicine, 1989-2000
  • PhD: University of Queensland, Australia, 1989
  • MS: University of Queensland, Australia, 1983
  • BS: National Autonomous University of Mexico, 1980

My laboratory is interested in determining the role of stress during infection. A growing body of evidence identifies stress as a cofactor in infectious disease susceptibility and outcomes.

Our studies integrate the effects of a physical stressor, cold water stress (CWS); manipulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the sympatho-adrenal-medullary (SAM) pathway, Toxoplasma gondii, a ubiquitous protozoan parasite; and the natural (peroral) route of infection.

Using this mild physical stressor, my laboratory has studied its effects in this host-parasite interaction during the acute phase after intraperitoneal (i.p.) and peroral infections. CWS is detrimental to mice following i.p. infection, but beneficial during peroral infection.

My laboratory's long-term goal is to understand the contribution of stress or stress-induced products to the outcome of infection with the opportunistic parasite T. gondii. To accomplish this long-term goal, we have focused out attention to the observation that stress (likely through its SNS output) decreases intestinal immune responses and increase survival of mice after per peroral infection with T. gondii.

Our central hypothesis is that activation of the SNS by CWS results in the release of neuropeptides and neurohormones, and these stress products are in part responsible for the local intestinal immunosuppresion.

To date, few or no studies have simultaneously measured SNS activation, immune function, and disease susceptibility. We have made considerable gains in understanding the contributions of the HPA and SAM pathways during stress and T. gondii infection.

In addition to having basic application in understanding normal physiologic and host defensive processes modulated by the central nervous system, our studies are of great value which could lead to designing new therapeutic strategies aimed at curbing pathology induced by enhanced inflammatory responses.

Selected publications

MORDUE, D.G., MONROY, F.P., LA REGINA, M., SCHREIBER, R., DINARELLO, C. & SIBLEY, D. (2001). Virulence in Toxoplasma is due to over-stimulation of protective immunity. Journal of Immunology 167:4574-4580.

AVILES, H. & MONROY, F. (2001). Toxoplasma gondii: cold stress-induced modulation of antibody responses. Experimental Parasitology. 99:89-96.

AVILES, H., JOHNSON, M.T. & MONROY, F. (2004). Effects of cold stress on spleen cell proliferation and cytokine production during chronic Toxoplasma gondii infection. NeuroImmunomodulation. 11:93-102.

GETZ, J. & MONROY, F. (2004). Effects of α-and β-adrenergic agonists on Toxoplasma gondii infection in murine macrophages. Journal of Parasitology. 90: 487-90.

MONROY, F. (2008). Toxoplasma gondii: 14-3-3 proteins in infected human epithelial cells. Experimental Parasitology. 118 (2008) 134-138.

Aviles, H., Stiles, J., Sonnenfeld, G., Leid, J. & F. Monroy. (2008). Kinetics of intracerebral chemokine expression during Toxoplasma gondii infection. Journal of Parasitology. 94: 1282-1288.

GOPAL, R., BIRDSELL, D. & MONROY, F.P. 2008. Regulation of Toll-like receptors in intestinal epithelial cells by stress and Toxoplasma gondii infection. Parasite Immunology. 30: 563–576.

LO PRESTI, M.S., LEID, J.G., GRONDONA, E., MONROY, F.P., BIGLIANI, C.M., PESSAH, O. & PONCE, A.A. 2009. Alterations in electrocardiographic parameters induced by acute infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa wild-type and mucoid strains in mice. World J Microbiol Biotechnol. 9: available on line.

GOPAL, R., BIRDSELL, D. & MONROY, F.P. 2010. Regulation of chemokine responses in  intestinal epithelial cells by stress and Toxoplasma gondii infection. Parasite Immunology. 33: 12-24.

GOPAL, R., BIRDSELL, D. & MONROY, F.P. 2011. Infectious dose-related variations in intestinal immune responses during experimental Toxoplasma gondii infection. Parasite Immunology. Under review.