Sitara SR Ajjampur, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Microbiology

Sitara SR Ajjampur’s research focuses on Cryptosporidium spp., one of the commonest causes of diarrhea in Indian children. She has shown that infections with the human associated species, C. hominis, results in more severe diarrhea. In studies on the molecular epidemiology of giardiasis, she has shown that assemblage A is more frequently associated with diarrhea in Indian children. Her studies also indicate that multiple episodes of cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis in early childhood results in malnutrition and deficits in cognitive function and emphasizes the need for early detection and prevention. In studies evaluating antibody responses to cryptosporidial antigens, gp15 and gp40, she has shown that children mount a significant response to gp15 and a partly subtype-specific response to the polymorphic gp40, an important initial step in determining whether either or both of these antigens could be targeted for vaccine development.

Ajjampur is also carrying out studies on the role of polymorphisms in innate immune response genes and the risk of cryptosporidial diarrhea with a graduate student and is involved in two NIH funded grants on cryptosporidiosis with Professor Kang. She has also initiated research on benzimidazole resistance in hookworm species using both molecular and phenotypic assays.

Based on her research over the last 8 years, Ajjampur has over 25 peer-reviewed publications with 9 as first author, won 3 travel grants to present her findings at international conferences and obtained 5 independent external research grants from the ICMR, DBT and CFAR. In addition to research, she oversees the parasitology diagnostics laboratory that receives over 200 samples every day from various clinical units at CMC and is involved in teaching parasitology to medical students.