Thomas M. Petro, Ph.D.

Thomas M. Petro, Ph.D.

Dr. PetroTitle: Professor
Department of Oral Biology
Nebraska Center for Cellular Signaling
Nebraska Center for Virology

Room: 1467
UNMC College of Dentistry
40th and Holdrege
Lincoln, NE 68583-0740

Telephone: (402) 472-1327
Fax: (402) 472-2551


  • B.S. (Microbiology), Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
  • M.S. (Microbiology), Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
  • Ph.D. (Immunology/Microbiology), Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
  • Postdoc (Immunology/Nutrition), Purdue University, W. Lafayette, Indiana

Teaching Responsibilities:

  • Course Instructor, A Review of Biomedical/Dental Sciences (OB 471)
  • Course Director, Fundamentals of Microbiology (OB 514)
  • Course Director, Immunology (OB 325)
  • Course Director, Immunology and Microbiology of Oral Infectious Disease (OB 866)

Research Interests:

  • Using molecular immunobiology approaches to explore intrinsic pathways to or novel therapeutics for expression and control of cytokines to prevent chronic viral infections, autoimmune diseases, and/or inflammatory diseases. 
  • Read more about Dr. Petro's research in the Bioregulation Group and in Immunology and Inflammation


  • Nebraska Center for Virology, "IRF3 and the Control of Persistent Viral Infections." Co-investigator with Principal Investigator Deborah M. Brown, Ph. D. $100,000, 7/1/11 – 6/30/13
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society, "Role of IL-12 gene expression in virus-induced encephalomyelitis." Principal investigator, $209,708. 10/1/02 - 9/1/05
  • PP1423 National Multiple Sclerosis Society, "Effect of resveratrol on development of EAE." Principal Investigatory, Funded $44, 000. 7/1/07 - 6/30/08
  • P20 RR18759 National Institutes of Health (15% effort) Nebraska Center for Cellular Signaling (K. R. Johnson, PI) 9/19/03 -6/30/13

Recent Publications:

  • Moore, T.C., Bush, K.L., Cody, L., Brown, D.M., Petro, T.M. Control of Early Theiler's Murine Encephalomyelitis Virus Replication in Macrophages by Interleukin-6 Occurs in Conjunction with STAT1 Activation and Nitric Oxide Production. J Virol. 86(19):10841-51, 2012.
  • Moore, T.C., Al-Salleeh, F.M., Brown, D.M., and Petro, T.M. IRF3 Polymorphisms Induce Different Innate Anti-Theiler’s Virus Immune Responses in RAW264.7 Macrophages. Virology 15;418(1):40-8, 2011. 
  • Petro, T.M. Regulatory role of resveratrol on Th17 in autoimmune disease,  International immunopharmacology, 11(3):310-8, 2011.
  • Ghosh, S., Howe, N., Volk, K., Tati, S. Nickerson, K.W., Petro, T.M. Candida albicans Through Beta-glucan and Farnesol Stimulates Expression of Th17-Inducing, Inflammatory, and Regulatory Cytokines in the Murine RAW264.7 Macrophage Cell Line. FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology. 60:63-73, 2010.
  • Ghosh, S., Navarathna, D.H., Roberts, D.D., Cooper, J.T., Atkin, A.L., Petro, T.M., Nickerson, K.W. Arginine-induced germ tube formation in Candida albicans is essential for escape from murine macrophage line RAW 264.7. Infect Immun. 77(4):1596-605, 2009.
  • Imler, T.J. and Petro, T.M. Decreased Severity of Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis During Resveratrol Administration is Associated with Increased IL-17+IL10+ T cells, CD4- IFN-+ cells, and Decreased Macrophage IL-6 Expression. International Immunopharmacology. 9(1):134-43. 2009.
  • Al-Salleeh, F.M. and Petro, T.M. Promoter analysis reveals critical roles for IRF-3, SMAD-3 and ATF-2 in expression of IL-23 p19 in RAW264.7 cells. J. Immunol. 181:4523-4533, 2008.
  • Al-Salleeh, F., Beatty, M.W., Reinhardt, R.A., Petro, T.M., Crouch, L. Human osteogenic protein-1 induces osteogenic differentiation of adipose-derived stem cells harvested from mice. Arch Oral Biol. 53:928-936 2008.
  • Al-Salleeh, F.M. and Petro,T.M. TLR3 and TLR7 are involved in expression of IL-23 subunits while TLR3 but not TLR7 is involved in expression of IFN-beta by Theiler's virus-infected RAW264.7 cells. Microbes and Infection. 9(11):1384-92, 2007.
  • Hause, L., Al-Salleeh, F.M. and Petro, T.M. Expression of IL-27 p28 by Theiler's virus-infected macrophages depends on TLR3 and TLR7 activation of JNK-MAP-kinases. Antiviral Research. 76(2):159-167, 2007.
  • Navarathna, DH, Nickerson, KW, Duhamel, GE, Jerrels, TR, Petro, TM. Exogenous farnesol interferes with the normal progression of cytokine expression during candidiasis in a mouse model. Infect Immun. 75(8):4006-11, 2007.
  • Kollet, J.I. and Petro, T.M. IRF-1 and NF-â p50/cRel bind to distinct regions of the proximal murine IL-12 p35 promoter during costimulation with IFN- â and LPS. Molecular Immunology 43:623-633, 2006.
  • Dahlberg, A., Auble, M.R., and Petro, T.M. Reduced expression of IL-12 p35 by SJL/J macrophages responding to Theiler's virus infection is associated with constitutive activation of IRF-3. Virology. 353:422-432, 2006.
  • Petro, T.M. ERK-MAP-kinases differentially regulate expression of IL-23 p19 compared with p40 and IFN-beta in Theiler's virus-infected RAW264.7 cells. Immunol Lett. 15;97(1):47-53, Feb 2005.
  • Petro, T.M. Disparate expression of IL-12 by SJL/J and B10.S macrophages during Theiler's virus infection is associated with activity of TLR7 and Mitogen-activated Protein Kinases. Microbes and Infection. 7:224-232, 2005.
  • Petro, T.M. Modulation of IL-12 p35 and p40 promoter activity by smokeless Tobacco extract is associated with an effect upon activation of NF-kB but not IRF Transcription factors. International Immunopharmacology. 3:735-745, 2003.
  • Vaidyanathan, H., Zhou, Y., Petro, T.M., and Schwartzbach, S.D. Intracellular localization of the p35 subunit of murine IL-12. Cytokine 21:120-128, 2003.
  • Petro, T.M., Anderson, L.L., Gowler, J.S., Liu, X., and Schwartzbach, S.D. Smokeless tobacco extract decreases IL-12 production from LPS-stimulated but decreases IL-12 from IFN-gamma-stimulated macrophages. International Immunopharmacology 2:345-355, 2002.
  • Vaidyanathan, H., Gentry, J.D., Weatherman, A., Schwartzbach, S.D. and Petro, T.M. Differential response of the murine IL-12 p35 gene to lipopolysaccharide compared with interferon-gamma and CD40 ligation. Cytokine. 16:1-9, 2001.
  • Kollet, J., Witek, C., Gentry, J.D., Liu, X., Schwartzbach, S.D., and Petro, T.M. Deletional analysis of the murine IL-12 p35 promoter comparing interferon-ã and LPS stimulation. J. Immunol.167:5653-5663, 2001.
  • Jana, M., Liu, X., Koka, S., Ghosh, S., Petro, T.M., and Pahan, K. Ligation of CD40 stimulates the induction of nitric oxide synthase in microglial cells. J. Biol. Chem. 276:44527-44533, 2001.
  • Pahan, K., Sheikh, F.G., Liu, X., Hilger, S., McKinney, M., and Petro, T.M. Induction of nitric oxide synthase and activation of NF-kB by interleukin-12 p40 in microglial cells. J.Biol. Chem. 276:7899-7905, 2001.