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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Satya Dandekar elected to join an honorable leadership group for microbiology

The American Society of Microbiology invited Dandekar to join the American Academy of Microbiology for her impactful scientific contributions

By MONICA MANMADKAR — science@theaggie.org

Satya Dandekar, a professor of microbiology and chairperson at the Department of Medical Microbiology, has been selected to join the American Academy of Microbiology among 65 others. Elected through a highly selective process, fellows are chosen based on their scientific achievements and contributions to medical microbiology. 

Fascinated by the ability of viruses and microbes to overpower the immune system and cause disease, Dandekar sought to learn more about pathogens and their infectious mechanisms. Throughout the years, her research has been focused on understanding how the immune system responds and encounters pathogens and prevents disease. 

“[At my lab], we investigate viral infections and mucosal immunity with specific emphasis on HIV/AIDS,” Dandekar said. “We found that HIV attacks immune cells in the gut very early during the infection and has a devastating impact on the tissue and its antiviral immune response and within a few days to weeks, the virus damages the gut epithelial lining and impairs the barrier defenses against infections.”

Currently, Dandekar’s lab is investigating novel strategies for achieving rapid repair and renewal of virally inflamed and functionally impaired guts. They hope that the new approach will provide a way for creating multistep HIV eradication methods. She recently co-authored a paper regarding this new approach.

Dandekar has also received the Deans’ Award for Excellence in Mentoring from the School of Medicine. Additionally, she is a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She has served as a member of the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Advisory Council, where she received a prestigious MERIT award for her HIV research. 

With Dandekar’s leadership, the UC Davis Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology has become a pioneer in the field of mucosal infections and immunity, ranking 20th for NIH research funded medical microbiology and immunology departments. Dandekar added how UC Davis had provided a nurturing environment for her to develop into a productive researcher and leader and has inspired her to do better.

“This award is very well-deserved,” said Sumathi Sankaran-Walters, associate adjunct professor at the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at the School of Medicine and a colleague of Dandekar. “She has been such a great mentor and guide over the years, and I am constantly amazed by what she accomplished.”

Looking to her future at the Academy, Dandekar hopes to contribute more to the Medical Microbiology and Immunology field and learn from her peers. 

Written by: Monica Manmadkar — science@theaggie.org

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