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Investigators and Program Directors

Vishnu Chaturvedi

Vishnu Chaturvedi

Research Scientist, Wadsworth Center,
Mycotic & Parasitic Diseases
Director, NYS Department of Health Mycology Laboratory
Associate Professor, School of Public Health, Biomedical Sciences

Ph.D., University of Delhi, India (1988)
Postdoctoral training, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, University of Cincinnati

E-mail: vishnu.chaturvedi@health.ny.gov

<< Research Interests

Research Interests

My research interests in medical mycology are based upon unique features of fungal pathogens and infections:

  1. More than a million fungi are known to exist yet only a few hundred are capable of causing human and animal infections.   This number is less than fifty if one were to focus on pathogens causing life threatening illnesses.  Thus, these pathogens possess selective infectivity, but we do not understand the basis of this specialization.
  2.  The mortality rates for serious fungal infections remain high and it is a challenge to cure them in spite of notable progress in recent years.   This is due to difficulties in obtaining timely diagnosis, variable effectiveness of available drugs and the critical role of patient’s immune system in successful outcome.

The current projects in the laboratory are in three areas:
Emerging & re-emerging fungal pathogens: We work closely with hospital and commercial laboratories and other sections in the Health Department to monitor fungal pathogens in different patient populations.  Molecular epidemiology surveys, fungal characterizations in individual cases, antifungal susceptibility profiles in select patient populations and inter-laboratory collaborative studies are essential to this effort.  Recent projects have focused on pathogenic yeasts Candida and Cryptococcus, dimorphic pathogen Coccidioides, opportunistic pathogen Fusarium, and most recently the bat pathogen Geomyces destructans.

Fungal pathogenesis: The central goal is to define how ecological fitness influences fungal virulence.  Our model system is Cryptococcus gattii, which is an emerging pathogen in North America.  We use structural and genomic approaches to define basis of C. gattii virulence.  Ultimately, we would like to know why C. gattii split up from its pigeon guano dwelling sibling C. neoformans, and why it chose to climb into trees instead, and why immunocompetent individuals are vulnerable to this pathogen and what can be done to prevent the infection?

Antifungals: We work on antifungal combinations and rapid susceptibility testing.  We selectively visualize fungal cellular processes with fluorescent probes and measure fluorescence to predict antifungal effects.  Animal models are also used to study predictive value of the laboratory tests.  Ultimately, we would like to devise more rapid and quantitative tests that predict clinical efficacy of two-drug combinations. 

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Contact Information

Phone (518)474 4177
Fax (518)486 7971
E-mail: vishnu.chaturvedi@health.ny.gov