AMALI E. SAMARASINGHE, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Pediatrics-Research
 
Assistant Professor
Micro Immuno & Bioch

Office: 402R LE BONHEUR RESEARCH CENTER
50 NORTH DUNLAP STREET
MEMPHIS TN 381032893
Tel: (901) 287-5318
asamaras@uthsc.edu
http://www.samarasinghelab.org/

Education

  • PostDoc, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Infectious Diseases
  • Ph.D., North Dakota State University, Molecular Pathogenesis
  • M.S., California State University, Northridge, Neuroimmunology
  • B.S., California State University, Northridge, Biotechnology
  • A.A., Los Angeles Pierce College, Biology

My Current CV

Research Description

Asthma, a disease of the airways that impacts over 200 million people globally, can often be complicated by respiratory pathogens. Analysis of records after the 2009 influenza pandemic indicated that while asthmatics were more likely to be hospitalized as a result of virus infection, they were less likely to suffer from severe morbidity and mortality compared to non-asthmatics. We developed a murine model system to study the intersection of allergic asthma and influenza in the laboratory with the aim of determining the host immune responses of an allergic host during influenza infections. We showed that the state of the allergic airways at the time of influenza infection was a determinant of the disease outcome, wherein hosts infected with influenza virus at the peak of allergic airways inflammation were protected from influenza. Our efforts are now focused on determining cells and mediators that may influence responses which may hinder influenza virus replication or enhance immunity in the asthmatic host. Additional ongoing studies include investigating the viral-bacterial synergy in asthma and parasite-allergen responses in the development of asthma.

Our laboratory mission is to investigate interactions between the allergic host and respiratory pathogens using unique model systems and cutting edge technologies. We aim to gain knowledge and expertise through which we may impact human health. Laboratory members work on independent projects in a collaborative setting.

Graduate and Post-doctoral positions available. Please e-mail for further information.

Laboratory Group

Current Members

Kim S. LeMessurier, Ph.D.

Dr. LeMessurier earned a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Adelaide, Australia, in 2007 where she focused on identifying transcriptional changes that occurred during Streptococcus pneumoniae pathogenesis. Over the next five years, she examined early immune responses to pneumococcal infection in the laboratory of Dr. Elaine Tuomanen in the department of Infectious Diseases at St. Jude Children''s Research Hospital. Dr. LeMessurier joined the Samarasinghe group as a Research Associate/Laboratory Manager in 2012. Her studies are aimed at delineating pathways by which hosts with allergic airways disease counter respiratory bacterial infections.

Tilani M. Palipane, B.S.

Tilani earned a Baccalaureate degree from Christian Brothers University, TN, majoring in Natural Sciences and with minors in Biology and Chemistry. She joined the Samarasinghe group in 2015 as a Research Assistant. Tilani''s studies are aimed at understanding the effect of resistin-like molecules in allergic asthma.

Jennifer Armbruster-Lee, M.D.

Dr. Lee earned a medical degree from West Virginia University and completed a Residency in Pediatrics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in 2015. She was the Chief Resident from 2014-2015. She is currently in a Fellowship program at our institute focusing on Pediatric Gastroenterology. She joined the Samarasinghe group in 2016 to complete her Research training for her Fellowship. Her research interests include eosinophilic esophagitis, vitamin D deficiency, and obesity.