Juliet V. Spencer, Ph.D.

Professor, Biology

Director, School of the Sciences

Juliet V. Spencer, Ph.D.


Scientific Research Commons
Room 304K
1000 Old Main Circle
Denton, TX 76204


Juliet V. Spencer is a Professor of Biology at Texas Woman's University.  She completed graduate and post-doctoral training at the University of Virginia and the gained additional post-doctoral training at ChemoCentryx, Inc., a biotechnology start-up in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Dr. Spencer worked as a Senior Scientist in Drug Discovery at Ceretek, LLC for several years before starting her academic career at the University of San Francisco. Dr. Spencer joined the faculty at TWU in 2018 as Professor and Chair of Biology. Her lab focuses on herpesviruses and understanding how these viruses manipulate the human immune system.  Other research projects investigate virus evolution and the role of virus infection in the development and progression of cancer. She has a strong commitment to mentoring students in research and has been recognized by the Association of Women in Science for her outstanding mentorship of female students.  Her recent work also investigates factors associated with student succes in STEM fields and development of a science identity.  In 2021, Dr. Spencer was appointed as Director of the School of the Sciences, which includes Biology, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Computer Science, and Mathematics.


Ph.D., Microbiology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
M.B.A., Business Administration, Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX
B.S., Biotechnology, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA

Research Interests

Herpesviruses; Virus-host Interactions; Viral Immune Modulation; Virus Evolution

Latest Articles

Fueling Faculty Funding: 5 Tips for Promoting Grant Success in Your Department.
Department Chair (2022)
Juliet V. Spencer

Detection of cytomegalovirus interleukin 10 (cmvIL-10) by enzyme linked immune sorbent assay (ELISA)
Methods in Molecular Biology (2021)
Vivian P Young, Margarette C Mariano, Lionel Faure, Juliet V. Spencer

Why You Should Be A Selfish Instructor
Faculty Focus (2021)
Shazia A Ahmed, Juliet V. Spencer

Making Lemonade for Adjunct Faculty
Department Chair (2021)
Juliet V. Spencer, Amy Jo M. Hammett, Youlonda FitzGerald

Productive Infection of Human Breast Cancer Cell Lines with Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV)
Pathogens (2021)
Juliet V. Spencer, Kaitlin M. Branch

Herpes Simplex Virus: A Versatile Tool for Insights Into Evolution, Gene Delivery, and Tumor Immunotherapy
Virology: Research & Treatment (2020)
P H Mody, S Pathak, L K Hanson, J V Spencer

Editorial: Cytokine-mediated Organ Dysfunction and Tissue Damage Induced by Viruses
Frontiers in Immunology (2020)
J V Spencer, P Religa, M H Lehmann

Identification of a novel signaling complex containing host chemokine receptor CXCR4, Interleukin-10 receptor, and human cytomegalovirus US27
Virology (2020)
Carolyn C. Tu, Christine M. O'Connor, Juliet V. Spencer

Control of Cytokines in Latent Cytomegalovirus Infection.
Pathogens (2020)
Pearley Chinta, Erica C Garcia, Kiran H Tajuddin, Naomi Akhidenor, Davis Allyson

Who Let the Dogs Out? A Plea for Official Guidelines on Service Animals in the Teaching Laboratory
Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education (2019)
Amy Jo M Hammett, Juliet V Spencer

The human cytomegalovirus US27 gene product constitutively activates antioxidant response element (ARE)-mediated transcription through Gβγ, phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), and nuclear respiratory factor 1 (NRF-1)
Journal of Virology (2018)
J M Boeck, G A Stowell, C M O'Connor, J V Spencer

Human Cytomegalovirus UL111A and US27 Gene Products Enhance the CXCL12/CXCR4 Signaling Axis via Distinct Mechanisms
Journal of Virology (2018)
C C Tu, K L Arnolds, C M O'Connor, J V Spencer

Human cytomegalovirus interleukin-10 enhances matrigel invasion of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells
Cancer Cell International (2017)
C A Valle Oseguera, J V Spencer

Effect of Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) US27 on CXCR4 Receptor Internalization Measured by Fluorogen-activating Protein (FAP) Biosensors
PLoS ONE (2017)
J M Boeck, J V Spencer

Modulation of the Host Environment by Human Cytomegalovirus with Viral Interleukin 10 in Peripheral Blood
Journal of Infectious Diseases (2017)
V P Young, M C Mariano, K M Allaire, C C Tu, S Avdic

Evolution of the ability to modulate host chemokine networks via gene duplication in human cytomegalovirus (HCMV)
Infection, Genetics and Evolution (2017)
J A Scarborough, J R Paul, J V Spencer

Viral manipulation of the host immune response
Current Opinion in Immunology (2015)
A Christiaansen, S M Varga, J V Spencer

Human Cytomegalovirus interleukin-10 promotes proliferation and migration of MCF-7 breast cancer cells
Cancer Cell & Microenvironment (2015)
R K Bishop, C O Valle Oseguera, J V Spencer


Cytomegalovirus Encoded G Protein-Coupled Receptors. In Cytomegalovirus Infection
SM Group Open Access eBooks (2017)
J M Boeck, J V Spencer

Current Projects

My research centers on herpesviruses and the way they interact with their human hosts. Herpesviruses are unique in their ability to establish lifelong latent infections. The immune response is usually sufficient to prevent serious disease; however, the immune system is unable to eliminate the virus from the body. Work in my laboratory is currently focused on two areas: 1) mechanisms that herpesviruses employ to modulate host immune responses and establish lifelong latency, and 2) the contribution of herpesviruses to the development or progression of cancer. This work is funded by National Institutes of Health.

Externally Funded Projects

Scholarships and Co-curricular Activities Leading to Excellence in the Biotechnology Workforce (TWU-SCALE) Year 1 of 6
GOV-National Science Foundation (NSF) | $1,500,000.00 | 2022
Role: Principal Investigator

Modification of Host Chemokine Responses by Human Cytomegalovirus Year 5 of 5
GOV-National Institutes of Health(NIH) | $424,783.00 | 2019
Role: Principal Investigator

Internally Funded Projects

Upgrade of CytoFlex Flow Cytometer to 13 Color Analysis
Teaching and Research Grant for Equipment (TARGET Award), TWU | $60,000.00 | 2021
Research Grant

Relationship between Vitamin D levels, Cytokines, and Cytomegalovirus in Pregnant Minority Women
Jane Nelson Institute for Women's Leadership | $49,000.00 | 2021
Research Grant

Women in STEM Leadership Program
Jane Nelson Institute for Women's Leadership | $350,000.00 | 2021
Research Grant

Development of a novel mouse model for breast cancer
Jane Nelson Institute for Women's Leadership | $39,200.00 | 2021
Research Grant

Immunomodulatory Functions of Rhesus and Human Cytomegalovirus
Chancellor's Research Fellow Award, TWU | $8,000.00 | 2020
Research Grant

Role of Viral Cytokines in Breast Cancer
Research Enhancement Program (REP Award), TWU | $9,854.00 | 2020
Research Grant

Investigation of a Novel Immune Stimulatory Function of Cytomegalovirus Interleukin 10
Research Enhancement Program (REP Award), TWU | $10,000.00 | 2019
Research Grant

Professional Affiliations

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Society for Microbiology
  • American Society for Virology
  • Sigma Xi