Satya Dandekar, Ph.D.
Dr. Satya Dandekar is a professor of Microbiology and the chairperson of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at UC Davis and has a joint appointment in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine.
Under her guidance as chair of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Dr. Dandekar has made strengthening the Department her utmost priority and focused her efforts on faculty recruitment and building the infrastructure for the Department. She also made it a priority to strengthen the infectious disease program at UC Davis through research and education. The Department currently is the primary research base for 21 faculty members, their respective staff and students.
Dr. Dandekar’s research program is focused on the molecular pathogenesis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infections with special emphasis on gastrointestinal mucosal lymphoid tissue (GALT) as a major target organ of the viral infection and as a viral reservoir.
Current studies have been focused on determining the molecular mechanisms of the disruption of gut mucosal immune system in HIV infection and restoration during anti-retroviral therapy. Her research has utilized the SIV infected rhesus macaque model to investigate the pathologic effects of viral infection on the gut mucosal immune system and function.
Dr. Dandekar’s research demonstrates for the first time that gastrointestinal mucosal tissue is an early target organ of HIV and an early site for viral replication and severe CD4+ T cell depletion (Guadalupe, et al. 2003). She has successfully integrated basic and clinical studies to determine the pathogenic mechanisms of mucosal HIV infection. Dr. Dandekar’s research was also one of the first to demonstrate that GALT is an early target organ for the pathogenic effects of SIV infection. Dr. Dandekar’s research described for the first time the restoration kinetics of gut mucosal system during therapy and repair of the damage to gut mucosal structure and function caused by the viral infection.
Dr. Dandekar’s other research focus is in understanding enteropathogenic mechanisms of HIV and SIV pathogenesis. She has been responsible for developing an SIV enteropathogenic model for the studies of HIV-associated enteropathy.