The research conducted by Ravindra (Ravi) V. Durvasula, M.D., focuses on developing new therapeutics and strategies to control transmission of infectious diseases. As a Howard Hughes Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University, Dr. Durvasula developed a model system for expression of anti-trypanosomal molecules in the gut of the Chagas disease vector, Rhodnius prolixus. This work was funded by National Institutes of Health grants and has resulted in several additional lines of research into infectious diseases, including:
- Paratransgenic control of sandfly-mediated leishmaniasis
- Paratransgenic control of sharpshooter-mediated Pierce's disease
- Paratransgenic control of Clostridium difficile infection in humans
These projects involve strategies for design, expression and characterization of recombinant molecules that can be used for control of disease transmission.
Dr. Durvasula has pioneered new classes of intrinsically fluorescent antibodies and a new strategy for in vitro ribosomal display; he holds several patents in this area. Over the past few years, the Durvasula lab has expanded its work into the field of molecular design and drug discovery. Several programs with international collaborators are underway to design and develop new therapies for parasitic diseases such as malaria and leishmaniasis and illnesses caused by emerging viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, the Zika virus and the Ebola virus. His molecular design laboratory is also developing new antibody-based therapies for noninfectious conditions, such as chronic pain and post-stroke ischemia.
- Control of arthropod-mediated transmission of parasitic and viral diseases such as trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis and Zika
- In silico modeling and synthesis of recombinant antibodies to target both infectious and noninfectious conditions such as chronic pain
- In silico modeling and synthesis of drug candidates to target parasitic diseases and COVID-19
- Development of environmentally friendly larvicides to reduce transmission of mosquito-borne diseases
- Development of human paratransgenic strategies to modulate the gut microbiome
Significance to patient care
Dr. Durvasula's research aims to reduce the burden of parasitic and viral diseases on the global population by addressing both insect-mediated transmission and drug therapies for humans.
- Innovation Award, University of New Mexico, 2017
- John W. Clarke Endowed Professor of Medicine, Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, 2017
- Elected president, Western Association of Physicians, 2015
- Innovation Award, University of New Mexico, 2015
- Chair, Global Infectious Diseases Study Section, Fogarty International Center, 2014
- Elected member, American Society for Clinical Investigation, 2009
- Physician Postdoctoral Fellowship, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 1994