Lalita Ramakrishnan

University of Cambridge

Election Year: 2015
Primary Section: 44, Microbial Biology
Secondary Section: 43, Immunology and Inflammation
Membership Type: Member


The goal of my research is to understand the biology underlying the host-pathogen interactions in tuberculosis, and to translate these findings to treatment of human disease. I am a practicing clinician, specializing in infectious diseases and my fundamental research is framed in the context of clinical TB. To this end, my laboratory developed and validated a Mycobacterium marinum-zebrafish model of TB pathogenesis. We have made several surprising discoveries about TB pathogenesis and drug tolerance, and we have led the field by challenging fundamental assumptions about the mechanisms of drug tolerance, and the role of the tuberculous granuloma and of inflammation in pathogenesis. Key discoveries have been validated by us or others in human studies, and suggest completely new approaches to TB treatment. 

Research Interests

Lalita Ramakrishnan received her MBBS from Baroda Medical College in India and her PhD in immunology from Tufts University, Massachusetts. After completing medical residency and clinical infectious diseases training, she did postdoctoral work with Stanley Falkow at Stanford University, California, where she developed Mycobacterium marinum as a model for tuberculosis. She joined the faculty of the University of Washington, Seattle, in 2001, where her laboratory developed the zebrafish model of tuberculosis that has enabled insights into tuberculosis pathogenesis, antibiotic tolerance, and the genetics of host susceptibility to tuberculosis. She is also a practicing infectious diseases physician. In 2014, she moved to the University of Cambridge where she is a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow.

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