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Saravanan Thangamani, MS, PhD., Principal Investigator


Dr. Saravanan Thangamani is a SUNY Empire Innovation Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the SUNY Upstate Medical University. He is also the Director of SUNY Center for Environmental Health and Medicine, and Vector Biology Laboratories. He is an expert in vector-borne diseases, specifically tick-borne and mosquito-borne diseases caused by pathogens such as the Lyme disease agent, Borrelia burgdorferi, Powassan virus, Heartland virus, Chikungunya virus, West Nile virus and Zika virus. His research attempts to: (1) understand the environmental factors contributing to the emergence and reemergence of vector-borne diseases in the United States; (2) develop anti-tick vaccines; (3) develop novel transmission control methods, including the development of transmission blocking vaccines for mosquito and tick-borne diseases; (5) vector determinants of arbovirus transmission; (4) effect of co-infections on the clinical outcome of Lyme disease.


E-mail: thangams@upstate.edu

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Meghan Hermance, PhD., Research Scientist

Dr. Hermance completed her PhD in 2016, and the objective of her dissertation research was to investigate host immunomodulation by Powassan virus-infected ticks while examining components of tick saliva that lead to a more favorable environment for virus transmission.  Her long-term research interests are to comprehensively characterize the cellular and molecular immunology of the tick-virus-host interface; therefore, the focus of her postdoctoral research is to identify specific tick saliva factors that potentiate Powassan virus transmission and host immunomodulation. One of her current projects is to identify and characterize exogenous tick saliva miRNAs and their potential role in regulating Powassan virus infection.

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Erin Reynolds, Principal Research Support Specialist

Erin Reynolds has over a decade of infectious disease research experience which includes conducting in-vivo and in-vitro experiments in high level biocontainment laboratories, assisting in development of animal models for disease transmission and pathogenesis, and working under Good Laboratory Practice requirements. Through the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science she has completed Laboratory Animal Technologist and Institute of Laboratory Animal Management certifications. Her current research interests include development of a non-lethal animal model for Heartland Virus and evaluating the differences in disease progression between male and female mice.  

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Charles Hart, Graduate Student

Charles Hart graduated with a B.S. in biochemistry from Central Connecticut State University in 2013. He entered the University of Texas Medical Branch in 2014 in the human pathophysiology and translational medicine program and joined the Thangamani lab in 2015. Primary interests include vector-pathogen interactions and pathogen-pathogen interactions during coinfection. Charles Hart’s current project focuses on the interaction between Powassan virus and Borrelia burgdorferi in terms of tick pathogen acquisition and transmission, as well as the effect of dual infection in vertebrates.

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Allen Esterly, Graduate Student

Research Focus: Mosquito determinants of Alphavirus and Flavivirus transmission and dissemination.

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Jahnavi Bhaskar, Research Support Specialist