Ravi V. Durvasula, MD
Dr. Ravi Durvasula is a Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at University of New Mexico School of Medicine and Chief of Infectious Diseases/ Associate Director of The Center for Global Health. He obtained his MD at McGill University, residency training in Internal Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and fellowship training in Infectious Diseases at Yale. Research in the Durvasula lab is aimed at development of paratransgenic approaches to control of transmission of infectious pathogens. In the paratransgenic technique, commonly referred to as a “Trojan Horse” strategy, commensal or symbiotic microbes that reside in proximity to transmitted pathogens are engineered to deliver molecules that disrupt the transmission cycle. The focus of the Durvasula lab is a paratransgenic approach to control transmission of the Chagas disease parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, by the triatomine bug, Rhodnius prolixus. With funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and NIH, Dr. Durvasula has developed several molecules with anti-trypanosomal activity and is working on field application of this approach in Chagas disease-endemic settings in South America. Over the past 3 years, the Durvasula lab has explored paratransgenic approaches to control of sandfly-mediated visceral leishmaniasis, with active collaboration in kala azar-endemic regions of India. The third major project of Dr. Durvasula’s lab is development of paratransgenic strategies for control of Vibriosis in farmed marine animals. Through development of engineered strains of probiotic bacteria and micro-algae that are commonly fed to marine animals, this project aims to improve food supply in many disease-afflicted parts of the world.