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Earl W. Godfrey , PhD

    • Title:
    • Professor

    • Role:
    • Faculty

    • Faculty Appointments:
    • Associate to Full Professor, Department of Pathology and Anatomy, EVMS, 1999-present

      Program Director, Biomedical Sciences, EVMS, 2007-2016

      Assistant to Associate Professor, Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, Medical College of Wisconsin, 1984-1999

      Assistant Professor, Cellular Biology and Anatomy, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, 1983-1984

    • Additional Certifications:
    • Focus Areas:
    • Neuromuscular disease (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD)

      Therapies for ALS and FTD

      Molecular basis of synapse formation


    • Office Location:
    • Lewis Hall

    • Undergraduate Education:
    • Graduate Education:
    • Ph.D., Biology, Johns Hopkins University

    • Postdoctoral Education:
    • Neurobiology, Stanford University



    • Medical Education:
    • Residency:
    • Fellowship(s):
    • Board Certification(s):
    • Affiliation(s):
    • Research Interests:
    • Primary Specialty:
    • Hospital:
    • Courses Taught:
    • Biomedical Sciences: Molecules to Cells

      Cell Communication and Signaling

      Biotechnology: Microscopy and Imaging Techniques

      Pathologist’s Assistant: Embryology


    • Current Projects:
    • The goal of Dr. Godfrey’s current research is to test a new therapy using cells from patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the second most common cause of dementia.  The therapy involves a DNA- and RNA-binding protein, Pur-alpha, discovered by his collaborator at EVMS, Dr. Edward Johnson.  The protein binds to an expanded RNA repeat sequence found in cells of patients with the most common genetic form of both ALS and FTD, the C9ORF72 expanded hexanucleotide repeat (GGGGCC).  In a fly model of this mutation, overexpression of Pur-alpha has been shown to reduce neurodegeneration.  Pur-alpha and Pur peptides developed by Dr. Johnson and Dr. Dianne Daniel bind tightly to the C9ORF72 repeat and partially reverse cellular pathology in cells from C9ORF72 ALS patients.  We plan to test Pur peptides in patient cells and neurons expressing the C9ORF72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion.  After optimizing the treatment of cells, we plan to test the peptides in mice, with a view toward possible therapy in patients.

    • Bio:
    • 1984-1999, Assistant and Associate Professor, Cellular Biology and Anatomy, Medical College of Wisconsin

      1999-2004, Associate Professor, Pathology and Anatomy, EVMS

      2004-present, Professor, Pathology and Anatomy, EVMS

      2007-present, Director, Biomedical Sciences Graduate Programs, EVMS

Selected Recent Publications

Daigle, J.G., Krishnamurthy, K., Ramesh, N., Casci, I., Monaghan, J., McAvoy, K., Godfrey, E.W., Daniel, D.C., Johnson, E.M., Monahan, Z., Shewmaker, F., Passinelli, P., and Pandey, U.B. Pur-alpha regulates cytoplasmic stress granule dynamics and ameliorates FUS toxicity.  Acta Neuropathol. 131: 605-20, 2016.

Godfrey, E.W., and Schwarte, R.C.  Nitric oxide and cyclic GMP regulate early events in agrin signaling in skeletal muscle cells.  Experimental Cell Research 316: 1935-1945, 2010.

Godfrey, E.W., Longacher, M.W., Neiswender, H., Schwarte, R.C., and Browning, D.D.  Guanylate cyclase and cyclic GMP-dependent protein kinase regulate agrin signaling at the developing neuromuscular junction.  Developmental Biology, 307: 195-201, 2007.



Selected Recent Presentations

Foote, C., Abshier, N., Johnson, E.M., Daniel, D.C., and Godfrey, E.W.  Assessment of a synthetic peptide for Pur-based therapy for ALS.  Summer Scholars Poster Session, EVMS, August 3, 2017 and Research Day, EVMS, October 13, 2017.

Godfrey, E.W., Orians, J., Crist, T.E., Dagdanova, A., Daigle, J.G., Monaghan, J., Pandey, U.B., Daniel, D.C., and Johnson, E.M.  Pur-alpha and a Pur peptide stimulate autophagy in cells expressing the ALS-causing C9ORF72 expanded hexanucleotide repeat.  Fourth RNA Metabolism in Neurological Diseases Meeting, San Diego, CA, November, 2016

Johnson, E.M., Godfrey, E.W., and Daniel, D.C.  TZIP, a synthetic Pur-protein-based peptide, highlights a pathway linking CNS actions of Pur-alpha in HIV-1 infection and in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.  International Society for NeuroVirology Meeting, Toronto, Canada, October, 2016.

Godfrey, E.W., Orians, J., Crist, T.E., Johnson, E.M. and Daniel, D.C.  Pur alpha: a potential therapy for ALS due to the C9ORF72 expanded repeat.  Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, October, 2015.

Aguisanda, F., Theroux, C., and Godfrey, E.W.  Stem cell therapy in a mouse model of ALS.  Summer Scholars Poster Session, EVMS, 2013.