Dr. Avi Mitra
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
After taking his first microbiology course as an undergrad, Dr. Avi Mitra became intrigued with bacterial pathogens and started volunteering in a research lab. He soon became fascinated with trying to understand the ways through which pathogens cause disease. His undergrad research experience was so influential that he changed his degree a year before graduation to pursue further studies in academic research.
During his graduate studies in Florida, he studied how intestinal pathogens such as hemorrhagic E. coli control different virulence mechanisms to cause disease. Then he joined a lab in Alabama to conduct research on the lung pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), which kills ~1.4 million people worldwide every year. He became interested in learning how Mtb tries to get essential nutrients from the human host to survive and cause disease. Avi is specifically interested in understanding how Mtb obtains iron, which is an essential nutrient for growth.
As a faculty member in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at OSU, Dr. Mitra has formed a team of graduate and undergraduate students who are studying unknown mechanisms of Mtb iron acquisition and discovering new ways to target and block these systems as a way of treatment. As a molecular biochemist, Avi is involved in several services both within and outside OSU. He serves on committees at OSU reviewing biosafety protocols for other research labs and as a recording secretary for the Oklahoma Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Mitra is excited to continue working with his research group studying bacterial iron acquisition systems at OSU and hopes that their findings will help develop novel chemotherapeutic strategies.