Vasu Nair, Ph.D., D.Sc. (Emeritus)
The University of Georgia
Dr. Nair research includes antiviral drug discovery; conceptually new compounds with antiviral activities against DNA and RNA viruses including retroviruses; molecules with anticancer activity; and pre-clinical studies of antiretroviral compounds against HIV-AIDS and cancer.
He and his team hope to build an interdisciplinary, world-class center for drug discovery against viral and other diseases at The University of Georgia.
Research efforts in Dr. Nair's laboratory are concerned with the chemistry and biology of nucleosides, nucleotides, nucleic acids and related compounds with particular emphasis on the discovery of novel molecules of antiviral and anticancer therapeutic interest.
Application of molecular recognition concepts to viral genes and enzymes form the basis for his team's drug design work.
Chemoenzymatic methods are utilized for the synthesis of new inhibitors targeted at DNA and RNA viruses including retroviruses such as HIV. Interdisciplinary antiviral studies are performed through national and international collaborative arrangements. One example of success in the quest for new antiviral molecules is the discovery of highly potent inhibitors of HIV retroviral integrase. This viral enzyme is involved in the incorporation of viral DNA into human chromosomal DNA, the most devastating step in the attack of human cells by HIV.
Dr. Nair's interdisciplinary research work in this area is currently in the pre-clinical stage as these compounds exhibit potent anti-HIV activity. Work also continues on antitviral drug discovery targeted against infectious diseases caused by RNA viruses. A recent discovery is of a compound with significant activity against dengue virus. This arthropod-borne viral infection poses a serious global health problem.
Straight from the Scholar
The University of Georgia is a rising, top-twenty public institution with a strong commitment to enhance basic biomedical sciences. This is an outstanding environment in which to work. Successful technology transfer of discoveries from my laboratory at UGA provides strong evidence for this assertion.