History of Dr. Meagher’s Research Interests

2018 to present

DectiSomes. Invasive fungal diseases are globally responsible for over 1,350,000 deaths each year, with annual mortality rates ranging from 25 to 50%, in spite of various antifungal drug therapies. I and my research team have designed a new drug delivery system, DectiSomes. We’ve begun demonstrating the efficacy of DectiSomes against four of the five most life-threatening pathogens, those causing candidiasis, aspergillosis, cryptococcosis, and mucormycosis. Antifungal drug loaded liposomes are coated with fungal cell binding proteins that concentrate the drugs on fungal cells and their biofilms. In in vitro and in vivo in mouse models, DectiSomes lower the effective dose by order(s) of magnitude, reduce the number of required doses, and are expected to overcome many forms of antifungal drug resistance. We continue to modify and improve the design of DectiSomes to enhance their anti-infective properties against diverse pathogens and diseases.

2017 to 2021

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) damages the health of 35% of adult Americans and increases the likelihood of early mortality. Disordered sleep results in increased risk of several autoimmune disorders, dementia and other types of cognitive impairment, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease, but the molecular links to autoimmunity are poorly understood. The altered expression of a few serum cytokines had been linked to OSA. Nightly continuous positive airways pressure therapy (CPAP) is widely prescribed for various forms of sleep apnea and appears to be successful at rapidly reversing many of the OSA associated pathologies. But the molecular basis for the benefits of OSA were poorly understood. In collaboration with UGA’s Clinical and Translational Research Unit we demonstrated that the aberrant expression of more than a dozen serum cytokines in OSA patients were restored to normal or nearly normal levels by six months of airways therapy.

2011 to 2017

We were interested in the epigenetic reprogramming of humans, other animals, and plants in response to environment and possible epigenome induced risk of disease. However, epigenetic changes in plants and animals are cell type specific, which made them difficult to analyze with the technologies available several years ago. We began solving many of the technical issues associated with performing cell-type-specific epigenetic analyses on cell types from “difficult” organs including animal blood, brain, and adipose tissues and plant leaf mesophyll and epidermal cell types. This work included engineered mice and plants in which cell type specific nuclei may be enriched using simple affinity bead technologies.

2010 to present

Evolution, multigenerational inheritance, and chemical turnover of epigenetic information.

2002 to present

Epigenetics and chromatin remodeling machinery as they impact development and reproduction.

1979 to 2014

The plant actin-based cytoskeleton and the evolution of gene families and its contingent relationship to the macroevolution of various plant organs and tissues.

1980 to 2005

Phytoremediation- The theory behind and the engineering of plants that extract and detoxify mercury and arsenic contaminating our soil and water.

1982 to 2000

The coordination of RNA turnover, RNA structure, and transcriptional regulation as they regulate gene expression and light regulated carbon fixation in plants.

1976 to 1980

Developing viral vectors for molecular cloning in plants


Pioneering research on the molecular cloning of DNA and its expression in bacteria


Carcinogens as mutagens using a bacterial test system

1969 to 1972

The protein chemistry and evolution of enzymes catabolizing aromatic compounds in bacteria.

1967 to 1969

The molecular biology of double stranded RNA viruses replicating in both plant and insect hosts.