Girija Ramakrishnan


  • MSc, CCMB, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, Indi
  • PhD, State University of New York at Stony Brook

Primary Appointment

  • Assistant Professor, Medicine- Infectious Diseases and International Health


Research Interest(s)

Iron-uptake mechanisms and Virulence Factors of Francisella tularensis; Microbial Pathogenesis

Research Description

Tularemia is a plague-like disease caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis.  This organism is highly infectious as an aerosol and an effective vaccine for the agent does not currently exist.  My major research interest is in mechanisms governing pathogenicity of this intracellular pathogen.  Acquisition of iron in the host environment is a challenge for the pathogen, and we are studying the mechanisms for acquisition of iron using a combination of bioinformatics, genetic and proteomic methods.    F. tularensis uniquely employs paralogous proteins for TonB-independent siderophore-mediated uptake and for high affinity ferrous iron transport across the outer membrane. These iron acquisition mechanisms are critical for pathogenicity. These iron uptake and utilization mechanisms are potential targets for development of  vaccine and therapeutic strategies.
Girija Ramakrishnan is an affiliated faculty member of the Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases program.

Selected Publications

  • Pérez N, Ramakrishnan G. The Reduced Genome of the Francisella tularensis Live Vaccine Strain (LVS) Encodes Two Iron Acquisition Systems Essential for Optimal Growth and Virulence. PloS one. 2014;9(4): e93558. PMID: 24695402
  • Ramakrishnan G, Sen B. The FupA/B protein uniquely facilitates transport of ferrous iron and siderophore-mediated ferric iron across the outer membrane of Francisella tularensis Live Vaccine Strain. Microbiology (Reading, England). 2013. PMID: 24307666
  • Ramakrishnan G, Sen B, Johnson R. Paralogous outer membrane proteins mediate uptake of different forms of iron and synergistically govern virulence in Francisella tularensis tularensis. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2012;287(30): 25191-202. PMID: 22661710 | PMCID: PMC3408188