Research Faculty

Omar Perez, PhD, PharmD

Assistant Professor
Work Phone: 312-413-9650
Photo of Omar Perez PhD, PharmD

Biographical Info

Dr. Perez received his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine. His thesis work was conducted in Dr. Thomas Hope’s laboratory and focused on the HIV post-fusion event known as uncoating. He used a combination of molecular biology and live cell, bright-field, fluorescent microscopy to track HIV uncoating within cells, which led to several publications in top tier journals. These include: (i) development of a new fusion assay to study cytoplasmic HIV particles, (ii) elucidating the mechanism of Trim5alpha restriction of HIV and (iii) the development of a new uncoating assay to study individual HIV particles. After obtaining his PhD, Dr. Perez worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Longnecker in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Northwestern University. More specifically, his work, which was partially funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA), focused on elucidating the cellular factors that facilitated Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) assembly and egress from cells.

As the Director of Clinical Microbiology and Virology for the Indiana State Department of Health Laboratories, Dr. Perez oversaw the daily operations of the Division of Infectious Diseases, which included the Serology, Mycobacteria, Mycology, Bacteriology, Virology, the Influenza surveillance program, CDC LRN/select agents program and STD testing areas. He worked closely with state epidemiologists on detecting and preventing outbreaks throughout the state of Indiana. Most notably, Dr. Perez and his team at ISDH Laboratories were the first to detect the first imported case of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS-CoV) into the US.

Dr. Perez received his PharmD from the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Pharmacy. While working on his PharmD, he conducted research in the laboratory of Dr. Zackary Bulman in the Department of Pharmacy Practice. Dr. Perez was the primary investigator on a research grant awarded to him by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy to explore novel optimal therapeutic combinations to combat antimicrobial resistance bacteria. Specifically, Dr. Perez aimed to examine novel ceftazidime-avibactam based combination therapies in an effort to identify new two-drug dosing strategies that are highly active and capable of eradicating ceftazidime-avibactam resistant KPC-K. pneumoniae.

Dr. Perez is also a Military Microbiologist with the United States Army Reserves assigned to the Diagnostics Systems Division at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID).

His current research interests are antimicrobial pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD), identifying and understanding drug resistant mechanisms, translational pharmacology, viral pathogenesis and host response to infections, development of new diagnostic technologies and methods.

Clinical and Research Interests:
Clinical Interests

Clinical Virology
Antimicrobial resistance
Clinical diagnostics
Drug optimization

Research Interests

Pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD)
Translational pharmacology
Host-virus interactions
Development of new diagnostic technologies
Host biomarker response to infection
scRNA-Seq/Next Generation Sequencing
Emerging infectious diseases/pathogens

2019: PharmD, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy, Chicago, IL
2008: PhD in Microbiology and Immunology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Chicago, IL
2002: BS in Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
PostGraduate Training:
2008-2010: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Northwestern University, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Chicago, IL
Recent Publications:
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Categories: Clinical Pathology, Pathology, Research Pathology