Roman Ganta, M.Sc, PhD, University Distinguished Professor and Director for the Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases at Kansas State University (KSU) is trained in India with MSc in biochemistry from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam and PhD from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi prior to moving to the USA in 1987. He then received a 3-year post-doctoral training in molecular biology at the premier Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, followed by two years on training on vector-borne disease research at University of Florida (UF), Gainesville, Florida. Subsequently, he accepted a faculty position at UF in 1992 to expand his research scope on various vector-borne diseases. He then moved to KSU in early 1998 and rapidly progressed through the professional ranks.
With over three decades of research experience focused on important human and animal tick- and mosquito-borne diseases, Dr. Ganta has an active and internationally well-recognized research program on various tick-borne rickettsial diseases impacting the health of people, companion animals and agricultural animals. Dr. Ganta generated over $20 million of research support from several competitive funding agencies since 1998 at KSU with the lion’s share of support coming from the prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA. He has been continuously funded by the NIH since 2002 and has currently $10 million active research funding.
Dr. Ganta’s research program includes several funded projects aimed at investigating basic and translational research. He pioneered in developing genetics for obligate intracellular rickettsial pathogens and developed various animal models mimicking infections in natural hosts. These accomplishments have been greatly aiding in advancing both basic and translational research. He currently has three major active NIH R01 grants to investigate 1) the pathogenesis and host-tick-pathogen interaction of the human monocytic ehrlichiosis agent; Ehrlichia chaffeensis, 2) genetically modified live vaccines against rickettsial diseases caused by Ehrlichia and Anaplasma species pathogens, and 3) whole cell antigen-based vaccine development to control the Rocky Mountain spotted fever caused by Rickettsia rickettsii. He published over 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers, contributed to various grant review panels and editorial boards nationally and internationally. He is the recipient of several prestigious honors and patents. He made substantial contributions to mentoring to graduate and post-doctoral scientists, and to two international scientific societies in promoting research.
Dr. Ganta has established the Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne diseases (CEVBD) in 2015 at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University to further advance the vector-borne disease research program. He secured substantial foundation support for the CEVBD which totals about $1.2 million. These funds are primarily used for advancing the goals of the center by highlighting the importance of emerging diseases resulting from arthropod vector transmissions. The center has fostered faculty collaborations at K-State and several academic institutions across the nation and world, including several universities in Asia, Oceania, Central and South America, to establish and promote international research and teaching collaborations.