Nisha Garg, PhD

Nisha Garg, PhD
Departments of Microbiology & Immunology and Pathology
Franklin Fellow of the US Department of State - US Agency for International Development

Phone: (409) 747-6865
Fax: (409) 747-6869

Education: PhD, 1988, Haryana Agricultural University, India
MS, 1982, Haryana Agriculture University, India
BS, 1980, Kurukshetra University, India

Overview: Oxidative response networks and inflammation in Chagasic Cardiomyopathy; Vaccine efficacy against T. cruzi and Chagas disease; Strategies for the elimination of tropical infectious diseases.

Research Interests

Chagasic cardiomyopathy (CCM) is a major public health threat in Latin America and Mexico, and recognized as an emerging infectious disease in the U.S. Dr. Garg’s research program focuses upon two major areas dealing with CCM pathogenesis and vaccine development. The studies in the first program are aimed at understanding a) the parasite-induced changes in gene regulation and the signaling cascade that contribute to myocardial cytoskeletal rearrangement and mitochondrial dysfunction; and b) the role of free radicals in initiation and/or sustenance of the pathological processes, i.e., inflammation, oxidative damage, and clinical severity of cardiac disease. A second program focuses on screening the T. cruzi genome and identifying of vaccine candidates. The goal of these studies is to develop an optimal vaccine cocktail that provides maximal protective immunity to T. cruzi in a variety of host strains. Collaborators are at UTMB and several laboratories in Argentina and Mexico.

Policy Interests

Dr. Garg serves as Franklin Fellow at the USAID. In this capacity, she is interested in engaging government and non-government organizations in the development of regional "trust fund" mechanisms to address selected Neglected Tropical Diseases throughout the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. She works closely with USAID’s Bureau for Global Health, Office of Health, Infectious Diseases and Nutrition, and with the team responsible for development of the overall strategic planning and implementation of the global NTDs initiative under the President Obama’s Global Health Initiative (GHI) that announced $63 billion commitment to global health. Additionally, she assisted in the development of policy and practice to meet President Obama’s GHI goal to eliminate onchoceriasis in the Americas by 2014.

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