Published on New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center (

Senior Staff

Rajendra K. Agrawal, Ph.D.

Rajendra K. Agrawal, Ph.D. [1]

Director, Division of Translational Medicine, Wadsworth Center

We study mechanisms of protein biosynthesis in bacterial and eukaryotic cells, with a goal to understand bacterial drug resistance and identify new drug targets, using biochemical and high-resolution 3D cryo-EM techniques.

Nilesh Banavali, Ph.D. [2]

Structure-based Therapeutics for Infectious Diseases

We use NextGen sequencing to determine frequencies and sequence dependence of polymerase errors, and computational methods for drug design, structure prediction, and elucidating chemical and conformational mechanisms.

Valerie J. Bolivar, Ph.D. [3]

Neurobehavioral Genetics

We examine the genetics of brain abnormalities and behavioral impairments associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. Our current focus is identifying genes involved in abnormal forebrain connectivity and autism-relevant behaviors in mice.

Michele Caggana, Sc.D., FACMG [6]

Deputy Director, Division of Genetics

We focus on understanding how human genetic variation influences disease susceptibility, morbidity and outcome by studying the relationships between gene variants and environmental factors.

Sudha Chaturvedi, Ph.D. [8]

Director, Mycology Laboratory

We develop new technologies for fungal diagnostics and pathogenic mechanisms of Cryptococcus gattii and Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the etiologic agents of human cryptococcal meningitis and bat white nose syndrome, respectively.

Karen J. Chave, Ph.D. [9]

Director, Protein Expression and Biochemistry Cores

Dr. Chave serves as the Director of the Tissue Culture and Media Core as well as the Protein Expression Core.

Liang T. Chu, Ph.D. [12]

Nuclear Chemistry Laboratory

We investigate heterogeneous reactions occurring on ice, environmental particle and nanoparticle surfaces to better understand the atmospheric pollution processes and their impact on human health using spectroscopic techniques.

Alexander T. Ciota, Ph.D. [13]

Director, Arbovirus Laboratory

We study arbovirus adaptation and vector-virus interactions, focusing on West Nile virus and Culex mosquitoes. Areas of interest include mutant swarm dynamics, mechanisms of adaptation, microbial interactions and vectorial capacity.

Jan E. Conn, Ph.D. [15]

Vector Biology and Population Genetics

We investigate ecological and genetic adaptation of Anopheles malaria vectors to environmental factors that impact vectorial capacity, population genetics/genomics, ecology and behavior, and novel ways to monitor and control vectors.

Joan Curcio, Ph.D. [16]

Host-Retrotransposon Interactions

We focus on identifying conserved eukaryotic genes that control the activity of mobile retrotransposons and retroviruses for application as drug targets in the treatment of cancer, degenerative disease and AIDS.

April D. Davis, DVM, Ph.D. [17]

Director, Rabies Laboratory

We focus on developing and improving diagnostic tools for rabies. Additional research programs focus on studying rabies in bats within the laboratory and in field environments.

Keith M. Derbyshire, Ph.D. [19]

Associate Director for Research and Technology

We study mycobacteria and use molecular genetic approaches to investigate: global gene expression, at both transcriptional and translational levels; the mechanism of distributive conjugal transfer; and synthetic genetic interactions.

Ye Ding, Ph.D. [20]

RNA Bioinformatics

We are engaged in algorithms and software tool development for the prediction of RNA secondary structure and their applications to understand mechanisms of regulatory non-coding RNAs, with a recent focus on microRNAs and small bacterial RNAs.