Bob McKown


Professor, ISAT; Director, Biomanufacturing Laboratory
Contact Info

  • Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of California, Irvine
  • B.S. in Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine
Scholarly Interests/Research Topics
  • Structure and Function of Ocular Lacritin, a Human Tear Protein
  • Modeling Novel Treatments for Dry Eye
  • Development of Novel Diagnostics and Treatments for Ocular Diseases
  • Structure and Function of Human Antimicrobial Proteins
  • Professor, Department of Integrated Science and Technology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, San Jose State University
  • Senior Research Scientist, DNA Plant Technology Corporation, Oakland, CA
  • Research Scientist, Advanced Genetic Sciences, Oakland, CA
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, Microbiology and Immunology, University of California, San Francisco
Affiliations and Appointments
  • Vice President, Biomanufacturing, EyeRx Research, Inc., Norfolk, VA
  • Board of Corporate Advisors, Biotechnology Training Program, University of Virginia 
  • NSF National Visiting Committee, Northeast Biomanufacturing Center & Collaborative 
  • Lacritin Research Consortium
  • Affiliate Professor, Biology Department, James Madison University
  • Board of Directors, Virginia Biotechnology Association 2000 - 2010 
  • Nancy A. McNamara, Shaokui Ge, Salena M. Lee, Alison M. Enghauser, Lindsey Kuehl, Feeling Y-T Chen, Marianne Gallup, Robert L. McKown.  Reduced Levels of Tear Lacritin are Associated with Corneal Neuropathy in Patients with the Ocular Component of Sjögren’s Syndrome.  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci.  2016, 57.  doi: 10.1167/iovs 16-19309.

  • Wang W, Jashnani A, Aluri SR, Gustafson JA, Hsueh P, Yarber F, McKown RL, Laurie GW, Hamm-Alvarez SF, MacKay JA. A thermo-responsive protein treatment for dry eyes.  J Control Release. 2015 Dec 3;199C:156-167. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.  PMID: 25481446

  • McKown RL, Coleman Frazier EV, Zadrozny KK, Deleault AM, Raab RW, Ryan DS, Sia RK, Lee JK, Laurie GW.  A cleavage-potentiated fragment of tear lacritin is bactericidal.  J Biol Chem. 2014 Aug 8;289(32):22172-82. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.570143. Epub 2014 Jun 18.  PMID: 24942736

  • Vijmasi T, Chen FY, Balasubbu S, Gallup M, McKown RL, Laurie GW, McNamara NA.  Topical administration of lacritin is a novel therapy for aqueous-deficient dry eye disease.  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 Jul 17;55(8):5401-9. doi: 10.1167/iovs.14-13924.  PMID: 25034600

  • Feng, MM, Baryla, J, Liu, H, Laurie, GW, McKown, RL, Ashki, N, Bhayana, D, Hutnik, CM.  Cytoprotective Effect of Lacritin on Human Corneal Epithelial Cells Exposed to Benzalkonium Chloride In Vitro.  Current Eye Research.  2013 Oct Early Online.  Doi: 10.3109/02713683.2013.859275

  • Wang N, Zimmerman K, Raab RW, McKown RL, Hutnik CM, Talla V, Tyler MF 4th, Lee JK, Laurie GW.  Lacritin rescues stressed epithelia via rapid forkhead box O3 (FOXO3)-associated autophagy that restores metabolism.  J Biol Chem.  2013 Jun 21;288(25):18146-61. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.436584.  Epub 2013 May 2.  PMID: 23640897

  • Zhang Y, Wang N, Raab RW, McKown RL, Irwin JA, Kwon I, van Kuppevelt TH, Laurie GW.  Targeting of heparanase-modified syndecan-1 by prosecretory mitogen lacritin requires conserved core GAGAL plus heparan and chondroitin sulfate as a novel hybrid binding site that enhances selectivity.  J Biol Chem. 2013 Apr 26;288(17):12090-101. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.422717. Epub 2013 Mar 15.  PMID: 23504321

  • Velez V F, Romano JA, McKown RL, Green K, Zhang L, Raab RW, Ryan DS, Hutnik CM, Frierson HF Jr, Laurie GW.  Tissue transglutaminase is a negative regulator of monomeric lacritin bioactivity.  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Mar 1;54(3):2123-32. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-11488.  PMID: 23425695

  • McKown RL, Raab RW, Kachelries P, Caldwell S, Laurie GW.  Conserved regional 3' grouping of rare codons in the coding sequence of ocular prosecretory mitogen lacritin.  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Mar 19;54(3):1979-87. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-10740.PMID: 23422824

  • Seifert K, Gandia NC, Wilburn JK, Bower KS, Sia RK, Ryan DS, Deaton ML, Still KM, Vassilev VC, Laurie GW, McKown RL.  Tear lacritin levels by age, sex, and time of day in healthy adults.  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012 Sep 25;53(10):6610-6.  PMID: 22918641

  • Laurie DE, Splan RK, Green K, Still KM, McKown RL, Laurie GW.  Detection of prosecretory mitogen lacritin in nonprimate tears primarily as a C-terminal-like fragment.  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012 Sep 12;53(10):6130-6. doi: 10.1167/iovs.11-8567.  PMID: 22871838

  •  Samudre S, Lattanzio FA Jr, Lossen V, Hosseini A, Sheppard JD Jr, McKown RL, Laurie GW, Williams PB.  Lacritin, a novel human tear glycoprotein, promotes sustained basal tearing and is well tolerated.  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 Aug 5;52(9):6265-70. doi: 10.1167/iovs.10-6220.  PMID: 21087963

 Full list of publications

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