Dr. Ramaswamy Kalyanasundaram recently received a $2,342,954 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, to fund research to evaluate a lymphatic filariasis vaccine.
Dr. Ramaswamy is a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Head of the Biomedical Sciences Department and Assistant Dean for Research at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford.
For more than a decade Dr. Ramaswamy has been developing a promising vaccine candidate for lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, thanks in part to funding from the NIH.
The findings of a recent five month study in India conducted by Dr. Ramaswamy show new infections emerging in all the villages examined with only a small percentage of the population immune to the infection.
Lymphatic filariasis is the second leading cause of physical disability in the world, with approximately 80 percent of those at high risk for it residing in 10 countries including India, Nigeria, Nepal and the Philippines, according to the World Health Organization.
Dr. Ramaswamy proposes that all people living in the hot spots be treated and vaccinated, once all clinical trials are successfully completed, to eradicate the disease.
He is a 2009 recipient of the INSPIRE award sponsored by the Alumni Association of the University of Illinois and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Veterinary Medicine in Kerala, India, among several others.
He is a member of the American Society for Microbiology, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Indian Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology, The American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the Federation of American Society for Experimental Biology, and the American Association of Immunologists.