Timothy Sellati, Ph.D.

Distinguished Fellow and Chair, Infectious Diseases Department

Timothy Sellati, Ph.D., is distinguished fellow and the chair of Southern Research’s Infectious Diseases Department. Sellati leads infectious disease researchers who are currently working to identify novel mechanisms, targets, and strategies for prevention and treatment of both bacterial and viral infectious diseases that occur throughout the world.

Sellati received a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Dowling College in 1985 and a doctorate in cellular and developmental biology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1996. He comes to SR from the Trudeau Institute in Saranac Lake, New York. Before joining the Trudeau Institute in 2013, he established his independent research program in the Center for Immunology and Microbial Disease at Albany Medical College. Sellati’s current research focuses on immunity to Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, vaccine development against biological threat agents and emerging pathogens, and harnessing self-assembling antimicrobial nanofibers to target antibiotic resistant pathogens.

Over the years, Sellati’s lab has made seminal contributions in the area of host-pathogen interactions. In collaborative efforts he has 1) elucidated the mechanism whereby the immune system recognizes a key surface component of all bacterial species, 2) characterized a novel role for receptors on professional phagocytes, cells responsible for killing and clearing pathogens, critical for resolution of inflammation, 3) identified a glycolipid from the Lyme disease-causing bacterium whose recognition by Natural Killer T cells is essential for effective pathogen clearance by the host, and 4) characterized novel mechanisms whereby bacterial and viral pathogens induce host cell death that contributes to pulmonary and neurological disease.

Sellati’s group has over 40 publications in journals such as Nature Immunology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, and Journal of Experimental Medicine, to name a few. He was the immunology scientific councilor for the International Endotoxin and Innate Immunity Society and the past president of the Eastern New York branch of the American Society for Microbiologists. Additionally, he has served as ad hoc member of a number of NIAID Study Section review panels and reviewer for several scientific journals in the areas of immunology and microbiology.