Joseph  Qualls, Ph.D.

Joseph Qualls, Ph.D.

Joseph Qualls, Ph.D.

 Joseph  Qualls, Ph.D.

phone 859-344-3371
place S309
today My first year at TMU was 2022

Postdoctoral Fellowship (2007-2012) | St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn. - Departments of Infectious Diseases and Immunology | Mentor:  Peter J. Murray, Ph.D.

Ph.D. Immunology (2002-2007) | University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky. - Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics | Mentor:  Donald A. Cohen, Ph.D.

B.A., Biology (1998-2002) | Thomas More University, Crestview Hills, KY.

A.A., Microcomputer Application Systems | Thomas More University, Crestview Hills, KY.

Areas of Expertise and Research Interests

Research Interests:  Research in the Qualls laboratory has addressed how amino acid uptake and metabolism regulates immune cell function. L-arginine is a semi-essential amino acid required for cellular proliferation and many other processes.  Projects in his previous laboratories have explored the metabolic consequences of L-arginine and L-citrulline in macrophages and T cells – two key leukocytes required during host defenses against many bacterial pathogens, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Overall, data from his laboratory have shown control of mycobacteria is dependent on host metabolism of L-arginine/L-citrulline and targeting this pathway may be a promising approach to enhance host defense during infection. The work in this area helped uncover central-carbon metabolism – specifically that of glycolysis – to be regulated by L-arginine.  The Qualls laboratory continues to have interest in pursuing research in this area, specifically how metabolism and amino acid usage may regulate human macrophage function. Continued comprehension of leukocyte metabolism and utilization of amino acids and other molecules is expected to be central to host defenses against numerous pathogens and during non-infectious pathologies.

Areas of Expertise:  immunology, macrophages, T cells, L-arginine, L-citrulline, lactate, infection, inflammation, metabolism

Courses Taught:

Medical Microbiology, Immunology, Biochemistry, Introduction to Public Health


Crowther RR, Schmidt SM, Lange SM, McKell MC, Robillard MC, Zhao J, Haffey WD, Wyder MA, Greis KD, Setchell KDR, Qualls JE. L-Arginine Transfer from Antigen Presenting Cells Sustains CD4+ T Cell Viability and Proliferation. Journal of Immunology. Cutting Edge Article. 2022 Feb 15;208(4):793-798. doi: 10.4049/ jimmunol.2100652. Epub 2022 Jan 31.PMID: 35101895. PMCID: PMC8820592

Crowther RR and Qualls JE. Metabolic regulation of immune responses to Mycobacterium tuberculosis: a spotlight on L-arginine and L-tryptophan metabolism. Frontiers in Immunology. 2021, Feb 9. PMID: 33633745; PMCID: PMC7900187.

McKell MC, Crowther RR, Schmidt SM, Robillard MC, Cantrell R, Lehn MA, Janssen EM, Qualls JE. Promotion of Anti-Tuberculosis Macrophage Activity by L-Arginine in the Absence of Nitric Oxide. Frontiers in Immunology. 2021;12:653571. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.653571. eCollection 2021. PubMed PMID: 34054815; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8160513.

Lange SM, McKell MC, Schmidt SM, Zhao J, Crowther RR, Green LC, Bricker RL, Arnett E, Köhler SE, Schlesinger LS, Setchell KDR, Qualls JE. L-Arginine Synthesis from L-Citrulline in Myeloid Cells Drives Host Defense against Mycobacteria In Vivo. Journal of Immunology. 2019 Mar 15;202(6):1747-1754. doi: 10.4049/ jimmunol.1801569. PubMed PMID: 30710047.  Featured article.

Lange SM, McKell MC, Schmidt SM, Hossfeld AP, Chaturvedi V, Kinder JM, McAlees JW, Lewkowich IP, Way SS, Turner J, Qualls JE. L-Citrulline Metabolism in Mice Augments CD4(+) T Cell Proliferation and Cytokine Production In Vitro, and Accumulation in the Mycobacteria-Infected Lung. Frontiers in Immunology. 2017 Nov 16;8:1561. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.01561. eCollection 2017. PubMed PMID:29201027; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5696333.

Rapovy SM, Zhao J, Bricker RL, Schmidt SM, Setchell KDR, Qualls JE.  Differential requirements for L-citrulline and L-arginine during anti-mycobacterial macrophage activity.  Journal of Immunology.  2015 Oct 1;195(7):3293-300. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1500800. Epub 2015 Aug 26. PubMed PMID: 26311904.

Qualls JE, Subramanian C, Rafi W, Smith AM, Balouzian L, DeFreitas AA, Shirey KA, Reutterer B, Kernbauer E, Stockinger S, Decker T, Miyairi I, Vogel SN, Salgame P, Rock CO, Murray PJ. Sustained generation of nitric oxide and control of mycobacterial infection requires argininosuccinate synthase 1. Cell Host & Microbe.  2012 Sep 13;12(3):313-23.

Qualls JE, Neale G, Smith AM, Koo MS, DeFreitas AA, Zhang H, Kaplan G, Watowich SS, Murray PJ. Arginine Usage in Mycobacteria-Infected Macrophages Depends on Autocrine-Paracrine Cytokine Signaling. Science Signaling. 2010 Aug 17; 3(135):ra62.

Employee Roles
Departments Positions Titles
Biological Sciences Faculty Associate Professor

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