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Aloka Abey Bandara

Research Associate Professor
  • Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology
  • Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine


Dr. Bandara develops the treatment strategies for infectious and mitochondrial diseases.

Research Description: 

Infectious diseases are the causes of over 9 million deaths each year worldwide. Vaccines are needed to prevent these diseases. Diagnostics are useful for detecting infections. Antimicrobial (antibiotic) therapeutics are used to treat infections. Dr. Bandara investigates the cellular components of bacteria responsible for making the disease in infected humans/animals. Moreover, he develops novel vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics to control/treat bacterial diseases.

Mitochondria are the cellular organelles responsible for converting the food and oxygen into energy. Thus, these maternally inherited tiny organelles are considered as the power houses of the cell. Disorders in mitochondrial function lead to disease in organs or tissues that have greater energy demands, such as, brain, eye, heart, muscles, liver, and endocrine systems. Mitochondrial diseases affect one in 5,000 people throughout the world.

As of this moment, there is no cure. Development of therapeutics to mitochondrial diseases has been hampered by the lack of cell or animal models to test novel drug compounds. Dr. Bandara develops live, mutant cell models that mimic the mitochondrial disorders, and use these models to test the safety and efficacy of novel therapeutic candidates.