Saravanan Thangamani, M.Sc., Ph.D.

Saravanan Thangamani, M.Sc., Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Pathology;
Director, ACL-3 Laboratory;
Director, Insectary Services Core, Galveston National Laboratory
Member, Institute for Human Infections and Immunity;
Member, Center for Tropical Diseases

University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB)
301 University Boulevard
Galveston, TX 77555-0609

Cell: 409-771-7193
Office: 409-747-2412
Lab: 409-747-2415
Fax: 409-772-3338

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Saravanan Thangamani, M.Sc., Ph.D.

Professional Education

Degree Institution Field of Study Graduation Year
M.Sc. Bharathidasan University, Trichy, India Life Sciences 1998
Ph.D. Institute of Parasitology, University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic Molecular and Cell Biology 2003

National University of Singapore, Singapore

Innate Immunity


University of Connecticut Health Center, CT, USA

Immunology of Vector-Host-Pathogen Interactions



1998 Tamil Nadu (India) State Government’s Student Research Project fellowship, to identify tannery effluent resistant microbes, India.
2002 EMBO Short Term Fellowship, to study the interaction between Tick alpha-2-Macroglobulin and African Swine Fever Virus at the Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright Laboratory, UK

Professional Affiliations

2006 American Society of Microbiology
2008 American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
2008 American Committee on Athropod-borne Viruses
2008 American Committee on Medical Entomology
2008 American Committee on Molecular, Cellular and Immunoparasitology
2009 Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases
2009 WHO Center for Tropical Diseases

Research Interests

Understanding the dynamics of vector-pathogen-host interaction is fundamental toward development of new strategies to control vector borne pathogens. A complex repertoire of pharmacologically active molecules in blood feeding arthropod saliva is responsible for modulating host hemostasis, immune defenses, pain/itch, and wound healing, which facilitates blood feeding and pathogen transmission. Genomic strategies yielded previously unobtainable insights into the nature and diversity of salivary gland molecules. Understanding the function(s) of these molecules, and how it interacts with the host immune system is vital to development of novel disease transmission control strategies. Currently, my laboratory is using mosquitoes and ticks as our model systems to unravel the functional role of salivary proteins and small RNAs (viral RNAs and MicroRNAs) in potentiating arbovirus (Chikungunya virus, Powassan virus and Deer tick virus) establishment, which will lead to development of anti-viral strategies. We are also working on: (1) effect of co-infection in ticks by Borrelia sp., Anaplasma sp., and EMLA on POWV transmission; (2) neuropathogenesis of Powassan virus and Deer tick virus; (3) developing a tick transmission model for Heartland virus pathogenesis.

Selected Publications

    * - Equally contributed first authors

    1. Hermance, M, Thangamani S. Ixodes scapularis saliva enhances Powassan virus transmission to the host, influencing its dissemination and the course of disease. 2015. Journal of Virology. J. Virol. doi:10.1128/JVI.01056-15
    2. Maharaj PD, Widen SG, Huang J, Wood TG, Thangamani S.  Discovery of mosquito saliva microRNAs during CHIKV infection. 2015. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 9(1): e0003386. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003386
    3. Bolling BG, Vasilakis N, Guzman H, Popov VL, Thangamani S, Tesh R.  2014. Insect-specific viruses detected in laboratory mosquito colonies: Implications for evaluating vector competence experiments. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 92(2):422-8.
    4. Hermance M, Thangamani S. Proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines at the skin interface during Powassan virus transmission. J Invest Dermatol. doi: 10.1038/jid.2014.150. PMID: 24658509.
    5. Hermance M, Marques dos santos R, Heinze D, Hausser N, Bouyer D, Thangamani S. Detection of Rickettsia amblyommii in ticks collected from Missouri, USA. Emerg Microbes Infect. doi: 10.1038/emi.2014.31PMCID: PMC4051364.
    6. Thangamani S, Bente D. 2014. Establishing Protocols for tick containment at Biosafety level 4. Pathog Dis. doi: 10.1111/2049-632X.12187. PMID: 24838773.
    7. Heinze DM, Aronson J, Carmical R, Alarcon-Chaidez FJ, Wikel S, Thangamani S. Host immune response to Dermacentor andersonii feeding. Front Microbiol. 2014 May 7;5:198. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00198. PMID: 24847317.
    8. Gargili A, Thangamani S, Bente D. Influence of laboratory animal hosts on the life cycle of Hyalomma marginatum and implications for an in vivo transmission model for Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus.  Front Cell Infect Microbiol. PMID: 23971007.
    9. Heinze DM, Aronson J, Carmical R, Thangamani S. 2012. Early immunologic events at the tick-host interface. PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e47301.PMID:23077588
    10. Heinze DM, Wikel SK, Thangamani S, and Alarcon-Chaidez FJ .2012.Transcriptional profiling of the murine cutaneous response during initial and subsequent infestations with Ixodes scapularis nymphs. . Parasites & Vectors. 6;5: 26. PMID:2230960.
    11. Long KC,  Ziegler SA, Thangamani S, Hausser NL, Kochel TJ, Higgs S, Tesh RB. 2011. Experimental transmission of Mayaro virus by Aedes aegypti. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 85(4):750-7. PMID:21976583.
    12. Tulsidas SR, Thangamani S, Velazquez-Campoy A, Sivaraman J, Ho B, and Ding JL.    Structural Basis for a dual inhibition mechanism of a non classical kazal type inhibitor to regulate host and pathogen protease interactions.2011. PLoS ONE. 6(4): e18838
    13. Thangamani S, Higgs S, Ziegler S, Vanlandingham D, Tesh R, Wikel S. 2010. Host immune response to mosquito-transmitted chikungunya virus differs from that elicited by needle inoculated virus. PLoS ONE, 5(8):e12137. PMID: 20711354.
    14. Thangamani S*,  Jiang N*,  Chor CF, Wang SY, Winarsih I, Du RJ, Sivaraman J, Ho B, Ding JL. A novel serine protease inhibitor acts as an immunomodulatory switch while maintaining homeostasis.  J Innate Immun. 2009;1:465-479
    15. Thangamani S*, Boppana VD*, Alarcon-Chaidez FJ, Adler AJ, Wikel SK. 2009.  Blood feeding by the Rocky Mountain spotted fever vector, Dermacentor andersoni, induces interleukin-4 expression by cognate antigen responding CD4+T cells.  Parasites & Vectors 2009, 2:47. PMID: 19814808 (IF – 2.9).
    16. Thangamani S, and Wikel SK. 2009. Differential expression of the salivary transcriptome of Aedes aegypti upon blood feeding. Parasites & Vectors.   2(1):34. PMID: 19630962. (Journal Impact factor: 3.25).
    17. Thangamani S*, Boppana DV*, Adler A, Wikel SK.  SAAG-4 is a Novel Mosquito Salivary    Protein that Programs Host CD4+ T Cells to Express IL-4. Parasite Immunol. 2009. 31(6):287-95. PMID: 19493208. (IF- 2.6).
    18. Zhu Y, Thangamani S, Ho B, Ding JL. The ancient origin of the complement system. EMBO J 2005; 24(2):382-94. PMID: 15616573 (Journal Impact factor: 10.75).
    19. Saravanan T, Weise C, Sojka D, Kopacek P. Molecular cloning, structure and bait region splice variants of alpha-2-macroglobulin from the soft tick Ornithodoros moubata. Insect Biochem Mol Biol.  2003; 33(8):841-51. PMID: 12878230 (Journal Impact factor: 3.42).
    20. Kopacek P, Weise C, Saravanan T, Vitova K, Grubhoffer L. Characterization of an alpha-macroglobulin-like glycoprotein isolated from the plasma of the soft tick Ornithodoros moubata. Eur J Biochem. 2000; 267 (2):465-75.  PMID: 10632716 (Journal Impact factor: 3.58).

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