Dr. Wigdahl is professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, director of the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease, and director of the institute’s Center for Molecular Virology and Translational Neuroscience. The research efforts of the Department and Institute center on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of infectious, oncogenic, and inflammatory disease with a cumulative extramural research commitment of just over $60 million.
He also serves as the executive director of the interdisciplinary graduate program in molecular medicine. An internationally recognized molecular virologist, Dr. Wigdahl focuses his research on the molecular mechanisms, treatment, and prevention of immunologic abnormalities, cancer, and progressive neurologic disorders caused by members of the retrovirus family. These include the human immunodeficiency virus and the human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1), the first human tumor virus discovered. In particular, efforts are focused on the prevention of HIV sexual transmission and the HIV-induced neurologic complications of HIV/AIDS. Dr. Wigdahl has been funded by the National Institutes of Health for nearly 30 years, with total awards totaling more than $40 million. Current funding includes three NIH R01 research grants and a component of an NIH P30 grant. Dr. Wigdahl is also Co-Director of an Interdisciplinary and Translational Research Training Program in NeuroAIDS designed for graduate students. Dr. Wigdahl’s current total research commitment is approximately $6 million. Dr. Wigdahl graduated from Augsburg College in Minneapolis and received his doctorate in microbiology from the Medical College of Wisconsin. A senior associate editor of the Journal of NeuroVirology, Dr. Wigdahl also served as chair of the NIH NeuroAIDS and Other End-Organ Diseases Review Committee, served for six years as president of the International Society for NeuroVirology and currently serves as treasurer of the Society. Dr. Wigdahl is the 2013 recipient Pioneer in Neurovirology Award presented in recognition of outstanding individual achievement in the field of neurovirology and awarded by the International Society for NeuroVirology.