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Vet Med Faces of Research: Dr. Clinton Jones

Friday, November 8, 2019

clinton jones

Clinton Jones, Ph.D., is a Regents Professor and Sitlington Professor of Infectious Diseases in the veterinary pathobiology department at Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. His research focuses on two herpes viruses – bovine herpes type 1 and herpes simplex virus 1. Bovine herpes in particular carries with it huge economic impact for the cattle industry.

“Bovine herpes virus 1 is an important pathogen in cattle,” said Jones. “It can cause abortions and, in fact, is the leading cause in abortions in the United States. It also plays a role in bovine respiratory disease complex, which is the biggest problem facing the cattle industry these days. Herpes simplex is an important human pathogen that can cause recurrent eye disease. Occasionally the virus gets inside of the brain, which can cause life-threatening diseases called encephalitis.”

Dr. Jones has been doing research since he became a graduate student in September of 1979 at the University of Kansas. Currently at OSU he has five people working in his laboratory—two graduate students, two post-doctoral research associates and one technician. Forty years later, what keeps him going?

“We do new things all the time,” said Jones. “We study one aspect of a virus and then we study other things a couple years from now so everything is always fresh. Nothing ever stays the same. In the last few years, we have developed a much better understanding of how stress causes the viruses to wake up in the nervous system and grow and be shed, transmitted and cause other disease in their natural host.

“A good day is getting a paper accepted for publication or finding out a grant is being renewed or you have a new grant. It’s also great to see students doing well as they start to grow and get better at what they’re doing. Success is finding new things out about how these viruses engage the nervous system and how they figure out how to cohabitate with the nervous system.”

According to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, cattle is the number one agricultural commodity in Oklahoma with cash receipts of nearly $3 billion per year. This ranks Oklahoma as the number three cattle-producing state in the nation. If you would like to support research at Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, please contact Ashley Hesser, association director of development at the OSU Foundation, at 405-385-0715 or

Vet Med Faces of Research is a monthly series designed to inform the public about the impact of the numerous studies being conducted at Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Advancing knowledge and understanding for the benefit of the lives and livelihoods of the people of Oklahoma is a critical element of OSU’s land-grant mission.

MEDIA CONTACT: Derinda Blakeney, APR | OSU College of Veterinary Medicine | 405-744-6740 |

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