Sheela Ramamoorthy

Assistant Professor

Van Es 160
701 231 8504


  • Ph.D. in Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences/Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology from Virginia Tech (2006)
  • M.S in Microbiology, Cell and Molecular Biology from Oklahoma State University (2002)
  • BVSc (DVM) in Veterinary Medicine from Madras Veterinary College, India (1991)

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Professor of Virology at University of Georgia (2010-2012)
  • Serology Clinician at Iowa State University (2008-2010)
  • Postdoctoral Associate at Virginia Tech (2006-2008)

Research Interests

Although vaccines were discovered over 200 years ago, vaccine development has largely been based on hit-or-miss strategies. Even now, a majority of the commercially available vaccines are ‘conventional’ vaccines containing the entire microorganism in a killed or live form. With the advent of the genomic era, there has been an explosion of information about the pathogen and host immune mechanisms involved in infection. However, the development of effective vaccines against complex pathogens for which vaccines are either suboptimal or unavailable is not proportional. Therefore, the broad focus of my research is the rationalization of vaccine design. My efforts are focused on identifying and targeting key pathogen or host related factors or mechanisms that are critical for protection in the context of the porcine respiratory disease complex (PRDC). PRDC provides a fascinating ecological niche at a mucosal surface where multiple viral and bacterial pathogens interact to induce disease. The four central viral pathogens under study are porcine circovirus strain 2 (for which vaccines are effective), swine influenza virus (SIV-vaccines are suboptimal), porcine reproductive and respiratory disease syndrome virus (PRRSV- effective vaccines are not available) and torque teno viruses (which are highly prevalent in coinfections but whose biological significance is unknown). Our current efforts include understanding the immune response to these viruses at the epitope level and deciphering the molecular mechanisms of the immune cross-talk between the viruses and the host. We achieve these objectives using a variety of methods, including recombinant DNA/protein techniques, virological and immunological methods, gene expression analysis, epidemiology, bioinformatics and animal models to test vaccine efficacy and immune responses. The overarching and concurrent goal is to translate the basic research findings into novel and rationally designed vaccines and diagnostics.

Selected Publications

  • Ramamoorthy S, Woldemeskel M, Ligett A, Snider R, Cobb R, Rajeev S. Brucella suis Infection in Dogs, Georgia, USA. Emerg Infect Dis. 2011 Dec;17(12):2386-7.
  • Rammohan L, Xue L, Wang C, Chittick W, Ganesan S, Ramamoorthy S. Increased prevalence of torque teno viruses in porcine respiratory disease complex affected pigs. Vet Microbiol. 2011 Dec 16.
  • Lin K, Wang C, Murtaugh MP, Ramamoorthy S. Multiplex method for simultaneous serological detection of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus and porcine circovirus type 2. Journal of clinical microbiology. 2011 Sep;49(9):3184-90.
  • Beach NM, Smith SM, Ramamoorthy S, Meng XJ. Chimeric porcine circoviruses (PCV) containing amino acid epitope tags in the C-terminus of the capsid gene are infectious and elicit both anti-epitope tag antibodies and anti-PCV2 neutralizing antibodies in pigs. J Virol. 2011 Feb.
  • Ramamoorthy S, Opriessnig T, Pal N, Huang FF, Meng XJ. Effect of an interferon-stimulated response element (ISRE) mutant of porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) on PCV2-induced pathological lesions in a porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) co-infection model. Vet Microbiol. 2011 Jan 10;147(1-2):49-58.
  • Beach NM, Ramamoorthy S, Opriessnig T, Wu SQ, Meng XJ. Novel chimeric porcine circovirus (PCV) with the capsid gene of the emerging PCV2b subtype cloned in the genomic backbone of the non-pathogenic PCV1 is attenuated in vivo and induces protective and cross-protective immunity against PCV2b and PCV2a subtypes in pigs. Vaccine. 2010 Oct 31.
  • Ramamoorthy S, Huang FF, Huang YW, Meng XJ. Interferon-mediated enhancement of in vitro replication of porcine circovirus type 2 is influenced by an interferon-stimulated response element in the PCV2 genome. Virus Res. 2009 Nov;145(2):236-43.
  • Ramamoorthy S, Meng XJ. Porcine circoviruses: a minuscule yet mammoth paradox. Anim Health Res Rev. 2009 Jun;10(1):1-20.
  • Madson DM, Ramamoorthy S, Kuster C, Pal N, Meng XJ, Halbur PG, et al. Infectivity of porcine circovirus type 2 DNA in semen from experimentally-infected boars. Vet Res. 2009 Jan-Feb;40(1):10.
  • Opriessnig T, Ramamoorthy S, Madson DM, Patterson AR, Pal N, Carman S, et al. Differences in virulence among porcine circovirus type 2 isolates are unrelated to cluster type 2a or 2b and prior infection provides heterologous protection. J Gen Virol. 2008 Oct;89(Pt 10):2482-91.
  • Ramamoorthy S, Sanakkayala N, Vemulapalli R, Duncan RB, Lindsay DS, Schurig GS, et al. Prevention of lethal experimental infection of C57BL/6 mice by vaccination with Brucella abortus strain RB51 expressing Neospora caninum antigens. Int J Parasitol. 2007 Nov;37(13):1521-9.
  • Ramamoorthy S, Sanakkayala N, Vemulapalli R, Jain N, Lindsay DS, Schurig GS, et al. Prevention of vertical transmission of Neospora caninum in C57BL/6 mice vaccinated with Brucella abortus strain RB51 expressing N. caninum protective antigens. Int J Parasitol. 2007 Nov;37(13):1531-8.
  • Ramamoorthy S, Duncan R, Lindsay DS, Sriranganathan N. Optimization of the use of C57BL/6 mice as a laboratory animal model for Neospora caninum vaccine studies. Vet Parasitol. 2007 Apr 30;145(3-4):253-9.
  • Ramamoorthy S, Lindsay DS, Schurig GG, Boyle SM, Duncan RB, Vemulapalli R, et al. Vaccination with gamma-irradiated Neospora caninum tachyzoites protects mice against acute challenge with N. caninum. J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2006 Mar-Apr;53(2):151-6.
  • Ramamoorthy S, Sriranganathan N, Lindsay DS. Gerbil model of acute neosporosis. Vet Parasitol. 2005 Jan 20;127(2):111-4.