Biomedical Sciences & Pathobiology Faculty

Aloka Abey Bandara, PhD

Research Assistant Professor
Department of Biomedical Sciences & Pathobiology

Education

  • 1998
    PhD, Animal Sciences
    Virginia Tech
    Blacksburg, VA
  • 1989
    MPhil, Animal Sciences
    University of Peradeniya
    Sri Lanka
  • 1985
    BSc, Agricultural Sciences
    University of Peradeniya
    Sri Lanka

Research Project Involvement

  1. Characterization of Pathogenicity of Burkholderia mallei, and Development of Live Vaccines Against Glanders

    • The importance of carobxyl-terminal protease, and lipopolysaccharide O-antigen to pathogenicity of B. mallei is being investigated.
    • A potential live vaccine candidate has been developed (the relevant patent disclosure is being reviewed).
    • This work is undertaken in collaboration with Drs. Steve Boyle, Gerhardt Schurig and Tom Inzana (from Virginia Tech), and Dr. David DeShazer (from the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases).
  2. Characterization of Pathogenicity of Brucella, and Development of Live Vaccines Against Brucellosis

    • The roles of penicillin-binding proteins, outermembrane autotransporters, carobxyl-terminal protease, invasion proteins, and ureases in pathogenicity of Brucella are being investigated.
    • A live vaccine has been patented.
    • This work is undertaken in collaboration with Drs. Steve Boyle, Gerhardt Schurig and N. Sriranganathan (from Virginia Tech).
  3. Use of Nano-scale Optical Fiber Biosensors for Diagnosis of Infectious Diseases

    • Use of optical fiber biosensors in detecting and differentiating Burkholderia mallei, Burkholderia pseudomallei, and Francisella tularensis is being investigated.
    • Feasibility to use this approach to diagnose tuberculosis infections is being studied.
    • Dr. Bandara is a co-investigator of this project. Others investigators are Drs. Tom Inzana and Randy Heflin (from Virginia Tech).

Professional Experience

  • 2004 – Present
    Assistant Professor [Research]
    Biomedical Sciences & Pathobiology
    Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
    Virginia Tech
    Blacksburg, VA
  • 2002 – 2003
    Research Scientist
    Biomedical Sciences & Pathobiology
    Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
    Virginia Tech
    Blacksburg, VA
  • 2000 – 2001
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    Biomedical Sciences & Pathobiology
    Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
    Virginia Tech
    Blacksburg, VA

Professional Memberships

  • American Society for Microbiology

Patents

  1. United States patent US 7,364,745 B2. Development of a live, attenuated, recombinant vaccine for brucellosis. Inventors: A.B. Bandara (principal inventor), S.M. Boyle, N. Sriranganathan, and G.G. Schurig.
  2. Intellectual Property Disclosure submitted to VT Office for Intellectual Property (VTIP-07-083) - Live Attenuated Recombinant Vaccine for Glanders. Inventors: A.B. Bandara (principal inventor), S.M. Boyle, N. Sriranganathan, C.M. Reilly, and G.G. Schurig.
  3. Intellectual Property Disclosure submitted to VT Office for Intellectual Property (VTIP-13-314) – Nanoscale Optical Fiber Biosensor Assay to Detect Pathogenic Bacteria, Parasites, and Viruses. Inventors: T.J. Inzana, J.R. Heflin, A.B. Bandara, Z. Zuo, and J. Ritter.

Honors & Awards

  • Clearance from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to use and handle category-A, B or C bio-threat agents for research purposes
  • Certification from Environmental and Safety Unit of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for handling, use and mailing of category-A, B or C bio-threat agents for research purposes
  • John Lee Pratt Nutritional Fellowship: (August 1994 to July 1997), to undertake Ph.D. studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Overseas Development Administration (of the United Kingdom) Fellowship: (August 1986 to August 1988), to undertake M. Phil. studies at University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
  • National Education Scholarship of Sri Lanka: (May 1997 to August 1985), for high school and undergraduate studies

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

  1. A.B. Bandara, Z. Zuo, S. Ramachandran, A. Ritter, J.R. Heflin, and T.J. Inzana, 2015. Detection of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococci by Biosensor Assay Consisting of Nanoscale Films on Optical Fiber Long-Period Gratings. Biosensors and Bioelectronics. 70:433-440. PMID 25845336.
  2. Shah, N.R., A.B. Bandara, I. sandal, and T.J. Inzana. 2014. Natural competence in Histophilius somni. Veterinary Microbiology. 2014 Aug 27. pii: S0378-1135(14)00365-4. PMID 25218867.
  3. Bandara A.B., S. M. Boyle, A. Contreras-Rodriguez, A.M. Martins, R. Prasad, and C.M. Reilly. 2013. Brucella melitensis differs from B. suis in growth and urease activity in vitro, and infectivity in Fisher-344 rats in vivo. Advances in Infectious Diseases. 3(1):60-62.
  4. Modise T, Ryder C, Mane SP, Bandara A.B., Jensen R.V., Inzana T.J. 2012. Genomic Comparison Between a Virulent Type A1 Strain of Francisella tularensis and its Attenuated O-antigen mutant. J Bacteriol. 194(10):2775-6. PMID 22535949.
  5. Bandara, A.B. 2012. A wzt mutant Burkholderia mallei is attenuated and partially protects CD1 mice against glanders. Advances in Infectious Diseases. 2, 53-61.
  6. Bandara, A.B., A.E. Champion, X. Wang, G. Berg, M.A. Apicella, M. McLendon, P. Azadi, D. S. Snyder, and T.J. Inzana. 2011. Characterization and Mutagenesis of a Capsule-Like Complex from Francisella tularensis LVS. PLoS One. 2011 April 22;6(4):e19003. PMID 21544194.
  7. K.L. Cooper, A.B. Bandara, Y. Wang, A. Wang, and T.J. Inzana. 2011. Photonic Biosensor Assays to Detect and Distinguish Subspecies of Francisella tularensis.11(3), 3004-3019. PMID 22163782.
  8. Bandara, A.B., S.H. Poff, V. Dobrean, D. Hooover, M. Nikolich, G.G. Schurig, N. Sriranganathan, and S.M. Boyle. 2009. Simultaneous overexpression of homologous and heterologous antigens in attenuated Brucella melitensis. Microbes Infect. 2009 11(3):424-8. PMID 19397881.
  9. Bandara, A.B., G.G. Schurig, N. Sriranganathan, and S.M. Boyle. 2009. The putative penicillin-binding proteins 1 and 2 are important for viability, growth and cell morphology of Brucella melitensis. Vet Microbiol. 2009 Feb 2;133(4):387-93. PMID 18809265.
  10. Bandara, A.B., D. DeShazer, T.J. Inzana, N. Sriranganathan, G.G. Schurig and S.M. Boyle. 2008. A disruption of ctpA encoding carboxy-terminal protease attenuates Burkholderia mallei and induces partial protection in CD-1 mice. Microb Pathog. 2008 Sep;45(3):207-16. PMID 18614331.