Shashank Ganatra, M.B.B.S.

Staff Scientist I | Dr. Deepak Kaushal's Lab | Host Pathogen Interaction, Southwest National Primate Research Center, Staff

Research Focus

Shashank Ganatra, M.B.B.S., is a physician-scientist studying tuberculosis (TB) and how other diseases and conditions, such as HIV, diabetes and obesity, influence a patient’s immune response to TB infection. Dr. Ganatra specializes in developing new animal models and using advanced techniques to study these interactions. For example, he has been involved in managing the PET-CT imaging and Class III aerobiology laboratories to develop and study nonhuman primate models of tuberculosis and SIV (HIV equivalent in monkeys), and coronavirus infections.

Dr. Ganatra trained in medicine in India and worked at a tertiary hospital center, where he established an epidemiological cohort of about 600 drug-resistant tuberculosis patients. He later joined Dr. Kaushal’s lab as a postdoctoral scientist to study the nonhuman primate (NHP) model of TB/SIV co-infection treated with antiretroviral therapy.

Leveraging his knowledge from working at clinics and with the nonhuman primates, he is currently working to develop NHP models of obesity and type 2 diabetes to study the effects of these co-morbidities on the immune system’s ability to fight infections.

Inside the Lab

Dr. Ganatra serves as a staff scientist in Dr. Deepak Kaushal’s lab. He has been instrumental in replicating the model of aerosol M. tuberculosis (Mtb) infection in nonhuman primates using the state-of-the-art Class III aerobiology unit in the biosafety level 3 labs. Recently, he has been involved in PET-CT imaging of Mtb-SIV co-infected macaques and SARS-CoV-2 infected macaques in a newly established PET-CT lab. The initial findings of lung pathology in the CT imaging confirmed that  SARS-CoV-2 infection of macaque recapitulates the lung pathology seen in humans with COVID-19.

Currently, he is involved in developing a model of obesity and diabetes mellitus in macaques to study the resulting immune dysfunctions that lower an individual’s immune defenses to various respiratory pathogens.

Main Technologies and Methods Used

  • Nonhuman primate animal models
  • Aerosol control platforms
  • PET-CT Imaging
  • Flow cytometry
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • RNAscope
  • Confocal Microscopy
  • Multiplex assay