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Gerald Thrush, PhD


Assistant Dean of Pre-Clinical Education;
Interim Assistant Chair of BMS;
Professor of Immunology


College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific

E-Mail: gthrush@westernu.edu

Phone: 909-469-5374 | Join year: 2006

Education

Ph.D., Immunology/Microbiology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, 1990
B.S., Biology, Saginaw Valley State University Saginaw, MI, 1985.

Teaching Experience

Professor, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, COMP/Western University of Health Sciences, 2006-present
Associate Professor, Department of Biology, California State University San Bernardino. 2000-2006
Associate Dean, College of Natural Sciences, California State University, San Bernardino. 2000-2003
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, California State University, San Bernardino. 1996-2000
Instructor, Cancer Immunobiology Center, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX. 1993-1996
Assistant Instructor, Cancer Immunobiology Center, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, 1991-1993

Courses

Immunology lectures, IDIT module, OMSI; Course director
Blood & Lymphatics system, OMSI; Course director
Molecular and Cellular Basis of Life lectures; MSMS program, GCBS; Course director
Microbiology lectures, MSMS program, GCBS; Course director

Research Interest

Therapy of lymphomas with immunotoxins comprised of soluble T-cell receptors conjugated to ricin A-chain.

Immunotoxins are conjugates of cell-binding moieties linked to toxins or toxin subunits. Many investigators have used antibodies directed against tumor specific-antigens as the cell- binding moiety. B-cell tumors are ideal for this type of therapy because of their tumor-specific idiotype (Id). However, B-cell tumors often secrete Id which competes with tumor cells for binding of anti-Id antibodies. Therefore, to overcome this obstacle, my research focuses on developing soluble T-cell receptors (TCR) from tumor specific T cell clones as the cell-binding moiety, and ricin-A chain as the toxic moiety. T-cells recognize cell-bound (but not soluble) antigen in association with products of the major histocompatibility complex. Therefore, free idiotype should not interfere with binding of soluble TCRs to tumor cells. Id specific T-cells have been cloned from mice immunized with the murine tumor, BCL1. The TCR genes from these BCL-specific T cells have been cloned and attempts are underway to express a soluble form of these molecules. Once successful, ricin A-chain will be linked to the soluble TCRs biochemically or genetically. These conjugates will then be used to kill BCL1 tumor cells in vitro and in vivo.


Incidence of Lyme disease bacteria in San Bernardino, CA

A new research direction within my lab involves determining the incidence of the bacterium, Borrelia burghdorferi in the local area. This organism is the causative agent in Lyme disease in humans and animals. The bacteria is transmitted via the bite of ticks (Ixodes pacificus in California ). This organism has been readily found in northern California and cases of Lyme disease has also been reported. While there have been causes of Lyme disease in southern California , the incidence is low. In addition, an extensive survey of the local area has not been completed. In order to determine whether the organism is in our local tick population, the polymerase chain technique will be used to identify the bacteria.

Research Grant

  • Western U intramural research grant ($15,000) 2007-2008
  • CSUSB Faculty Professional Study awards ($6,369) 1997-2005
  • CSUSB Faculty Professional Development grants ($24,153) 1996-2005
  • AREA grant (R15), National Cancer Institute ($95,000) 1999-2002
  • CSUSB Junior faculty Professional Development grant ($5,595) 1997-1998
  • American Cancer Society Fellowship ($78,000) 1992-1995

Awards

Outstanding Basic Science Faculty (voted by the OMSI students), 2013
Lifelong Learning: Teaching Innovation (voted by the faculty), 2013
Outstanding Basic Science Faculty (voted by the OMSI and OMSII students), 2012
Outstanding Faculty Award – Student focus (voted by the faculty), 2012
Outstanding Faculty Award – Teamwork (voted by the faculty), 2011
Outstanding Faculty Award – Lifelong learning; teaching innovation (voted by the faculty), 2011
Outstanding Faculty Award – Student Focus (voted by the faculty), 2011
Outstanding Basic Science Faculty Award (voted by the OMSI and OMSII students), 2011
Golden Antibody Award, Basic Medical Sciences, COMP/Western University, (voted by OMSI students), 2009
Outstanding Basic Sciences Professor of the Year, Basic Medical Sciences, (voted by OMSII students), 2008
Outstanding Basic Sciences Professor of the Year, Basic Medical Sciences, (voted by OMSII students), 2007
CSUSB Golden Apple winter ("Teacher of the Year" award), 2005
College of Natural Sciences Award for Outstanding Teaching-related activities, 2004-2005
College of Natural Sciences Award for Outstanding Service to the College, 2002-2003
Outstanding Faculty Advisor of the Year, 2000
CSUSB Student Organization Advisor of the Year, 1998-1999

Organizations

American Association of Immunologists
American Society for Microbiology

Publication

Publications (selected)

  • Hubbard S, Darmani NA, Thrush GR, Dey D, Burnham L, Thompson JM, Jones K and Tiwari V. Zebrafish-encoded 3-O-sulfotransferase-3 isoform mediates herpes simplex virus type 1 entry and spread. Zebrafish. 2010 Jun;7(2):181-7.
  • Tiwari V, Darmani NA, Thrush GR and Shukla D. An unusual dependence of human herpesvirus-8 glycoproteins-induced cell-to-cell fusion on heparan sulfate. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Dec 18;390(3):382-7.
  • Darmani NA, Wang Y, Abad J, Ray AP, Thrush GR and Ramirez J. Utilization of the least shrew as a rapid and selective screening model for the antiemetic potential and brain penetration of substance P and NK1 receptor antagonists. Brain Res. 2008 Jun 12;1214:58-72.
  • Farrar JD, Katz KH, Thrush GR, Scheuermann RH, Uhr JW, and Street NE. Cancer dormancy VI: Regulation of the dormant state by CD8+ T cells. Journal of Immunology. 1999;162: 2842-2849.
  • Thrush GR, Lark LR, Clinchy BC and Vitetta ES. Immunotoxins: An Update. Annu Rev Immunol. 1996;14:49-71.
  • Thrush GR, Lark LR and Vitetta ES. Immunotoxins. Chapter 30, pg. 385-397. IN: Therapeutic Immunology, A Major Reference Text, K.F. Austen, S.J. Burakoff, F.S. Rosen, and T.B. Storm, eds., Blackwell Scientific Publications, Inc., Cambridge, MA, 1996.

Abstracts (selected)

  • Helf S, Thrush G and Curran M. Leaving the LMS: Checking out of the Hotel California. Campus Technology 2012, Boston, MA
  • Burnham LA, Thrush GR, Chan JK, Thompson J, Tiwari V. Enhanced infection of herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1) into target cells via cationic liposomes. Abstract #ST-1936. 110th General Meeting, San Diego, CA, 2010.
  • Roser M and Thrush GR. The identification of three different endosymbionts within a Southern California Population of Dermancentor occidentalis. Abstract #I-036. American Society for Microbiology. 104th General Meeting, New Orleans, LA, 2004.
  • Burnham L and Thrush GR. PCR detection of Bartonella spp. in questing adult Ixodes pacificus ticks in California. Abstract #Y-042. American Society for Microbiology, 104th General Meeting, New Orleans, LA, 2004.
  • Roser MA and Thrush GR. Identification of three different bacterial endosymbionts in Ixodes pacificus samples taken from San Bernardino County, California. Abstract #I-021. American Society for Microbiology. 103rd General Meeting. Washington, D.C. 2003.
  • Allen R and Thrush GR. Distributions of ticks along selected regions of the Pacific Crest Trail and adjacent areas in San Bernardino County, California. 100th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, Los Angeles, CA. Abstract #C-114., pg. 154.

Invited Seminars and Presentations (selected)

  • Helf S, Ma T, and Thrush G. Thought before action: The theoretical basis for technology to track learner outcomes. AACOM annual convention. Baltimore, MD., April, 2013.
  • Secrets of the H1N1 Swine Flu, Caduceus Club, San Bernardino Valley College, San Bernardino, CA. September, 2009.
  • Mechanism of spread of infectious disease. California Department of Transportation Safety Awareness Week. San Bernardino, CA. April, 2004.
  • Biological Terrorism, California Department of Transportation Safety Awareness Week. San Bernardino, CA. May, 2002.
  • Biological Terrorism, California Department of Transportation - District 8 superintendents and supervisors' meeting. San Bernardino, CA. December, 2001.
  • Immunotoxin Therapy of Cancer, Saginaw Valley State University, Saginaw, MI. March, 2000.
  • Mechanisms of Viral Oncogenesis, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA. February, 2000.