Dr. Venketaraman’s laboratory studies tuberculosis especially in the context of HIV infection and type 2 diabetes. The major research focus of the lab is to characterize the host immune responses against Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection by conducting both preclinical studies and clinical trials. The laboratory’s long-term goal is to develop host-directed therapies that can be given as adjunctive treatment for tuberculosis.

Preclinical studies:

Dr. Venketaraman’s laboratory has successfully developed in vitro granulomas using peripheral blood immune cells from healthy subjects and individuals with diabetes. Using these in vitro granulomas, Dr. Venketaraman’s lab investigates the host immune responses against Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection within this uniquely regulated environment (Islamoglu et al; 2018, Teskey et al; 2018, Cao et al; 2019).

With the recent NIH-funding (1R15HL143545-01A1), Dr. Venketaraman’s laboratory will conduct in vivo Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection studies in various strains of mice to understand the effects of diabetes in diminishing the immune responses against Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the respiratory tract.

 

Clinical trials:

Dr. Venketaraman’s laboratory had previously conducted two clinical trials in participants with HIV infection and those with AIDS. The study findings indicated that restoring the levels of glutathione resulted in redox balance and regulated cytokine production thereby favoring improved immune responses against Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection (Ly et al; 2015; Valdivia et al; 2017).

Currently his laboratory is conducting a clinical trial in individuals with type 2 diabetes to test the effects of redox homeostasis restoration in augmenting the host immune responses. These studies are being supported by Your Energy Systems, Palo Alto, CA.

Interesting facts about tuberculosis:

Tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis is considered as one of the oldest documented infectious disease in the world and a major global health problem. Every year 2 million people die because of tuberculosis. Approximately, 10 million new active cases of active tuberculosis are reported every year worldwide. It is estimated that one third of the world’s population is latently infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and this condition is called Latent tuberculosis infection. Individuals with HIV infection and people with type2 diabetes are increasingly susceptible to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. Individuals with active tuberculosis are treated with combination of four different antibiotics for six to nine months. Complete cure of the disease is dependent on the patient’s compliance to the treatment. Non-compliance will not only affect the cure rates but can also increase the risks for the emergence of multi-drug resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis which are difficult to treat.

For complete list of publications please visit the PubMed link below: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=venketaraman+v

Funding: NIH (NHLBI) 1R15HL143545-01A1 -2019-2022 Your Energy Systems- 2009-2021