As a senior scientist in the Infectious Disease Research group, Raj Kalkeri, Ph.D., is a subject matter expert on respiratory viruses (RSV, Flu, etc.), hepatitis viruses (B and C), and emerging virus infections (such as Zika). He is also a study director for several in vitro and in vivo animal model studies.
Since joining Southern Research in 2015, Kalkeri has made several key contributions to infectious disease research. He established the in vitro and in vivo hepatitis B virus program (HBV) at SR. While leading the program, he developed a sensitive real time PCR (Taqman) based assay for HBV cccDNA, HBV core promoter and a mouse model based upon adeno-associated virus (AAV-HBV). Additionally, he helped develop respiratory virus capabilities at Southern Research to include influenza, RSV, and other respiratory viruses, such as human metapneumo virus. Kalkeri is currently the project manager for NIAID project (C33) on “Development of Non-human primate (NHP) Zika animal model for product evaluation.” His work in Zika virus includes the development of a sensitive in vitro cell culture system and in vivo models (mouse and non-human primate models), which are useful in the development of prophylaxis and therapeutics for Zika virus.
Before joining Southern Research, Kalkeri was a research scientist at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, where he played a pivotal role in hepatitis C virus (HCV) research. Some of his contributions include the development of a mouse model for evaluation of HCV protease inhibitors and its utility for Incivek (HCV protease Inhibitor) preclinical development; and a study that demonstrated the double whammy effect of HCV polymerase inhibitors on both HCV replication, as well as restoration of innate immunity, for the first time.
Kalkeri is author or co-author of (20) publications and (more than a dozen) abstracts. He is chair of the membership committee for the International Society for Antiviral Research (ISAR) and coordinator of ISAR’s International Ambassador Program. He earned his doctorate in molecular and cellular biology from Tulane University and his Master of Business Administration from Babson College, F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business. He holds a Master of Veterinary Sciences in virology from Indian Veterinary Research Institute and a Bachelor of Veterinary Sciences from Veterinary College, Karnataka, India.