Rising Star
Dr. Rodney E. Rohde

PhD, MS, SV, SM(ASCP)cm MBcm

Chair & Professor

Clinical Laboratory Science

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Research Interests
1.  Rabies virus
2.  Antimicrobial resistance (MRSA, VISA, VRSA, VRE, etc.) & HAIs
3.  Oral Rabies Vaccination for wildlife
4.  Zoonotic disease
5.  Biotechnology & Molecular diagnostics
6.  Molecular epidemiology
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EM of rabies virus

CLS student Lindsey Coulter is first in Texas State history to receive CDC/APHL EID Fellowship!

USA Today Interview 12/16/2013 - R. Rohde on "Dangerous bacteria expand reach

CLS Distinguished Author at ASCLS 2013 for MRSA Nursing Prevalence publication

Texas State CLS Senior, Priya Dhagat, wins First Place National (ASCLS) Award for Undergraduate Research Project on MRSA!

Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs): It could happen to you!

HOT TOPIC selection by BMC Health Services Research: http://www.txstate.edu/news/news_releases/news_archive/2012/May-2012/MRSA050112.html

See this recent story:Interview National Geographic News, May 4th, 2009, “New, Fast-Evolving Rabies Virus Found -- And Spreading”, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/05/090504-rabies-evolution.html , Story is directly involved to 2006 publication: Leslie, MJ, Messenger S, Rohde RE, Smith J, Cheshier R, Hanlon C, et al. Bat-associated rabies virus in skunks. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 2006 Aug [date cited].

CLS Alumna, Erin Walker, helps develop personalized T cell therapy for MS patients

CLS Alumna, Callie Camp Wright, recognized for research!

Rohde, students commended for clinical research!!

Hillviews article on Rohde, "Disease Detective"


     Prior to my appointment as an assistant professor at Texas State University, I served as a microbiologist and molecular epidemiologist for the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS, formerly TDH)-Bureau of Laboratories and Zoonosis Control Division (ZCD) for 10 years.  It was at this institution that I developed an interest in zoonotic disease, especially with respect to rabies.  I spent much of my time performing antigenic and molecular typing of the different variants of rabies virus.  The epidemiologic evidence gathered from this testing provided information for the Oral Rabies Vaccination Program (ORVP)conducted by the ZCD.  I  still volunteer for the ORVP team each January and I have continued to collaborate with the DSHS and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in rabies efforts.   While at DSHS, I helped initiate the Regional Reference Laboratory for Rabies Virus Variant Typing in collaboration with the CDC.  As a faculty member at Texas State, I bring my experience from the DSHS laboratory and ORVP efforts with respect to public health into the various courses that I teach: clinical microbiology, clinical immunology, molecular diagnostics, parasitology, clinical research, and seminars. 

Canadian aircraft distributing recombinant vaccine bait
Canadian aircraft aerially distributing the recombinant
rabies vaccine.
Recombinant rabies vaccine
Size of the actual vaccine bait.

Automated loading of the bait into the plane.

Recently, I have become interested in antimicrobial resistance, specifically Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).  I have conducted collaborative projects with DSHS in respect to the prevalence of MRSA in a Texas prison population.  I plan to continue with these research endeavors at Texas State University while investigating other issues with respect to clinical diagnosis of infectious disease.

CLS Class of 2008

CLS Student, Kim Barron, working with MRSA.


    Rabies virus causes an acute encephalitis in all warm-blooded hosts, including humans, and the outcome is almost always fatal. Although all species of mammals are susceptible to rabies virus infection, only a few species are important as reservoirs for the disease. In the United States, several distinct rabies virus variants have been identified in terrestrial mammals, including raccoons, skunks, foxes, and coyotes. In addition to these terrestrial reservoirs, several species of insectivorous bats are also reservoirs for rabies.

    Rabies virus belongs to the order Mononegavirales, viruses with a nonsegmented, negative-stranded RNA genome. Within this group, viruses with a distinct "bullet" shape are classified in the Rhabdoviridae family, which includes at least three genera of animal viruses, Lyssavirus, Ephemerovirus, and Vesiculovirus. The genus Lyssavirus includes rabies virus, Lagos bat, Mokola virus, Duvenhage virus, European bat virus 1 & 2 and a newly discovered Australian bat virus.

    Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the CDC each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes. Domestic animals account for less than 10% of the reported rabies cases, with cats, cattle, and dogs most often reported rabid.

    Rabies virus infects the central nervous system, causing encephalopathy and ultimately death. Early symptoms of rabies in humans are nonspecific, consisting of fever, headache, and general malaise. As the disease progresses, neurological symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation, difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of symptoms.

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Hoary bat

Most of the recent human rabies cases in the United States have been caused by rabies virus from bats. Awareness of the facts about bats and rabies can help people protect themselves, their families, and their pets.   When people think about bats, they often imagine things that are not true. Bats are not blind. They are neither rodents nor birds. They will not suck your blood -- and most do not have rabies. Bats play key roles in ecosystems around the globe, from rain forests to deserts, especially by eating insects, including agricultural pests. The best protection we can offer these unique mammals is to learn more about their habits and recognize the value of living safely with them.
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Mexican freetail bat

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Red bat


All rights reserved. Updated August 29th, 2014. See also the official Texas State disclaimer.