Ramakrishna U. Rao, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Dr. Rao and Dr. Gary Weil, professor of medicine, are recipients of the 2016 Anne Maurer-Cecchini Award, which recognizes outstanding epidemiological or clinical research on neglected tropical diseases, given at the Geneva Health Forum in April 2016.
Dr. Ramakrishna Rao’s current research activities are related to molecular and biological aspects of filarial worms, diagnostics, the role of Wolbachia endobacteria in filarial worm biology; filarial infection and epidemiology.
Dr. Rao is interested in identifying the functional aspects of nematode (filarial worm) proteins and genes using current methodologies of proteomics and genomics. He has extensively studied the host immune response to parasitic nematode infection as it develops into either protection from infection or pathology. He was involved in antifilarial drug development with companies including Ciba-Geigy (India), Zonagen Inc., (TX), Divergence (now merged with Monsanto, St. Louis), and now is collaborating with Washington University School of Medicine McDonnell Genome Institute investigators to study target based antifilarial activities. In addition, he is actively involved in ongoing field studies funded by NIH, CNTD in UK, and LF Center-Taskforce, in Atlanta (In Sri Lanka and Egypt) to study the impact of mass treatment programs on filariasis prevalence rates in humans and transmission of infection.
Rao RU, Samarasekera SD, Nagodavithana KC, Dassanayaka TDM, Punchihewa MW, Ranasinghe USB, Weil GJ. Reassessment of areas with persistent Lymphatic Filariasis nine years after cessation of mass drug administration in Sri Lanka. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2017 Oct 30;11(10):e0006066.
Yahathugoda C, Weiler MJ, Rao R, De Silva L, Dixon JB, Weerasooriya MV, Weil GJ, Budge PJ. Use of a Novel Portable Three-Dimensional Imaging System to Measure Limb Volume and Circumference in Patients with Filarial Lymphedema. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2017 Dec;97(6):1836-1842.
Rao RU, Samarasekera SD, Nagodavithana KC, Punchihewa MW, Dassanayaka TD, P K D Gamini, Ford E, Ranasinghe US, Henderson RH, Weil GJ. Programmatic Use of Molecular Xenomonitoring at the Level of Evaluation Units to Assess Persistence of Lymphatic Filariasis in Sri Lanka. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2016 May 19;10(5):e0004722.
Golden A, Faulx D, Kalnoky M, Stevens E, Yokobe L, Peck R, Karabou P, Banla M, Rao R, Adade K, Gantin RG, Komlan K, Soboslay PT, de Los Santos T, Domingo GJ. Analysis of age-dependent trends in Ov16 IgG4 seroprevalence to onchocerciasis. Parasit Vectors. 2016 Jun 13;9(1):338.