Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, LSU Health Sciences Center
Dr. Ashok Aiyar obtained his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Case Western Reserve University in 1994 where his mentor was Dr. Jonathan Leis Following his PhD. Dr. Aiyar was a postdoctoral fellow from 19951999 under the mentorship of Dr. Bill Sugden at the University of WisconsinMadison. As a postdoctoral fellow Dr. Aiyar was awarded a Special Fellowship from the Lymphoma Leukemia Society for studies on EpsteinBarr virus EBV an oncogenic human virus. Following his postdoctoral fellowship Dr. Aiyar spent five years as an Assistant Professor of Microbiology at the Northwestern University School of Medicine. Dr. Aiyar moved to Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center at New Orleans LSUHSCNO in 2005 where he is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology Immunology and Parasitology. At LSUHSCNO Dr. Aiyaracute′s laboratory continues their research on EBV which has now been funded continually since 2000 by the National Cancer Institute NCI. Dr. Aiyaracute′s group also studies the protozoan parasite Leishmania on a project funded by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases NIAID in addition to research on EBV and Leishmania. Dr. Aiyaracute′s group participates in a collaborative project on the intracellular bacterial STD pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis.
Research interests have focused on the mechanism by which pathogen-encoded nucleic acid binding proteins contribute to disease. They work on a class of proteins that bind AT-rich DNA and G-rich RNA called AT-hook proteins. AT-hook proteins are encoded by bacterial, viral, and protozoan pathogens, and their human hosts that participate in gene expression, DNA replication, recombination and repair. His laboratory currently studies EBV and Leishmania amazonensis AT-hook proteins that function in replication and transcription. Their collaborative project on Chlamydia uses AT-hook proteins to facilitate molecular analyses of Chlamydia-infected cells. His laboratory studies deals mainly with three human pathogens: 1) EBV - an oncogenic virus; 2) the protozoan parasite Leishmania; and 3) the bacterial pathogen Chlamydia. For all three pathogens, we focus on biochemical, molecular and cellular aspects of transcription, DNA replication, and DNA repair that control or alter pathogenesis.The papershe review for other journal generally encompass these topics, or signaling in infected hosts that is affected by these processes in the pathogen.