U of I College of Medicine professor awarded Fulbright grant

Ramaswamy Kalyanasundaram, Ph.D., head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences, professor of microbiology and immunology, and assistant dean for research at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to further his research regarding lymphatic  lariasis, a parasitic infection that causes abnormal enlargement of lower limbs and body parts, resulting in pain, disability, amputation, social stigma and poverty. Dr. Ramaswamy aims to eradicate the disease, which threatens 1.4 million people worldwide, starting in his homeland of India. His weapon: a vaccine he’s been developing for more than a decade and that is now ready for human clinical trial.

An extensive survey of the infection will be conducted by Ramaswamy and his team as they journey through the high-risk villages of rural India during the 2014-2015 academic year, the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board announced recently. Ramaswamy will travel from village to village in India together with a small team of collaborators he has hand-selected, performing an extensive survey to determine how many inhabitants have succumbed to lymphatic  lariasis and how many appear to be immune.  e team will also work alongside representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) on tasks like collecting and testing the mosquitoes themselves.

Ramaswamy is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2014-2015.

From the May 14-20, 2014, issue

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