My Trials and Tribulations of Inter and Multidisciplinary Research at VT

Nammalwar Sriranganathan, PhD


I would like to share our experiences in two projects, one called “Bioremediation of Regulated Medical Waste” , which was a Industry initiated Biological and Engineering effort. Plans were to develop a process (Biological and Engineering) that could kill 6 Log (99.9999%) of bacteria, 4 Log (99.99%) of spores, viruses and Parasites. First meeting was not only eye opener for me and I understood only about 10% of the conversation. Engineering development was to have a grinding equipment to process 3 to 4 inch thick steel bone inserts and fermentation type of vessel to handle regulated hospital waste. Initially biological requirements were not even in the  equation. Then once we demonstrated the need for temperature, pH and time needed to accomplish what was needed a truly efficient process was developed. I would share what we learned was keeping the eye on the objectives of the process really helped us biologist to see the focus of engineers.

The second experience is with my current Development of targeted drug delivery. In this regard I would like to share difficulties in understanding different languages of chemists, engineers, material science experts and biologists, experimental vs application biologists.


Dr. Nammalwar Sriranganathan is a professor of bacteriology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech. He received his 1966 and his 1968 from the University of Agriculture Sciences in Bangalore, India. In 1974, he earned his Ph.D. in molecular biology from Oregon State University. Sriranganathan’s primary research interests include: Development of vaccines against agents of bioterrorism. Development of multivalent vaccines against neosporosis, anthrax, tuberculosis etc, using our current USDA approved Brucella abortus RB51 cattle vaccine as the platform. Targeted drug delivery against intracellular pathogens like drug resistant Salmonella, Brucella and Mycobacterium. Phage mediated bioremediation of food borne Salmonella in poultry, and the effect of aging on immune response. His efforts in biomedical research have been published in numerous articles.

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