Sasirekha Ramani, Ph.D.
Sasirekha Ramani, Ph.D.
- Assistant Professor
Molecular Virology and Microbiology
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX US
- BCM (Lab)
Houston, TX 77030
Phone: (713) 798-3010
- Viral gastroenteritis, immune response to infection and to vaccines, microbiome, glycans in infectious diseases
Professional StatementI am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) studying rotaviruses and noroviruses, the two leading causes of viral gastroenteritis. My specific areas of interest are maternal and child health with a focus on gastrointestinal infections and vaccines. The goals of my research program are to understand factors that contribute to disease susceptibility and identify mechanisms to improve immune responses to infectious agents and vaccines. I am particularly interested in identifying correlates of protection from infection and vaccination and what mediates vaccine failure, with the overall aim of developing appropriate interventions to improve public health.
My graduate work involved hospital and field studies on rotavirus and norovirus infections in India. The studies defined the burden of disease and complex epidemiology of these pathogens in this setting and provided baseline data for rotavirus vaccine introduction in India. As a junior faculty in India and later as a postdoctoral associate at BCM, I established several assays to evaluate immune responses following infection and utilized these techniques to determine immune responses induced to vaccines. During this time, I also acquired skills in molecular virology and viral pathogenesis, which allow me to use molecular tools to address central questions of clinical and epidemiological relevance.
I have built on these experiences as a faculty member at BCM. My work involves a combination of laboratory and field-based assays, and thus take a complete bench-to-bedside approach to infectious diseases. My scientific toolbox includes molecular characterization of host glycan-microbial interactions and field studies to evaluate laboratory findings in human subjects. Key to this research is the use of state-of-the-art human intestinal organoid cultures. Obtained from diverse donors, these cultures provide a physiologically relevant and genetically representative system to understand human-pathogen interactions at a molecular level. The work from my lab is being recognized for the unique combination of molecular and translational approaches. I collaborate with an interdisciplinary group of researchers having clinical, epidemiological, and scientific (viral pathogenesis, organoid biology, glycobiology) expertise, both in the United States and internationally, and this facilitates the conduct of population studies. I am committed to the promotion of health care, particularly in resource-poor regions, through research on infectious diseases. In the long term, my goal is to develop and stimulate new research on the role of glycans and the microbiome in infectious diseases and identify interventions with translational potential to improve human health.
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