Cherpes is Assistant Professor of Comparative Medicine, earning a DVM from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a MD from Wake Forest University. He completed an internal medicine residency at West Virginia University and an infectious disease fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining Stanford, he held a faculty appointment at The Ohio State University in the Departments of Microbial Infection and Immunity and Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Cherpes' research interests include the modulation of host defense by hormonal contraceptives. The feminization of the HIV pandemic mandates complete understanding of the risk factors promoting its sexual transmission, including possible links between hormonal contraceptive use and the enhanced susceptibility to HIV that has been suggested in several epidemiological studies. Our laboratory recently reported that dendritic cell activation, virus-specific T cell expansion, and memory T cell development were impaired among female mice administered depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) prior to viral infection of mucosal tissue, and we now are enrolling women into clinical investigations of the immunomodulatory effects of several common hormonal contraceptive forms. Completion of this research will provide important comparative evaluation of the capacity of these drugs to modulate host defenses combating genital tract infection, eventually supplying healthcare providers more informed recommendations regarding appropriate hormonal contraceptive choices among women at risk for acquisition of HIV.