Gauri Rao, Pharm.D., M.S., joined the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy as a tenure-track assistant professor in the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experiential Education in 2016.
Rao’s principal research interests surround quantitative systems pharmacology, and she is working to understand the processes of infectious diseases, specifically how the infecting pathogen and host immune system interact with each other. Her work is extending the knowledge of complex host-pathogen interactions and perturbations imposed by therapeutic interventions during a time of increasing bacterial resistance, a diminishing antibiotic drug pipeline and lack of viable treatment options for infections due to highly drug resistant bacteria.
Prior to coming to UNC, Rao was a pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics research fellow in collaboration with Hoffmann La-Roche AG at the University of Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences from 2011 to 2013. She then shifted to a faculty position at the school as an assistant professor.
During her research fellowship, Rao worked with Alan Forrest, Ph.D., to model viral kinetics using a systems-based approach, which she says she plans to apply to bacterial-host interactions. Her research shifted while she was obtaining her Doctor of Pharmacy, as she developed novel dosing mechanisms for old antibiotics aimed at conserving their efficacy by maximizing the pharmacodynamics while minimizing the emergence of resistance. This work was the foundation for a $4.45 million grant funded by NIH/NIAID in 2014.
In the past year, Rao has written and contributed to successful research proposal funded by NIAID that focuses on principles of adaptive feedback control systems borrowed from engineering control systems for the optimal dosing of polymyxin B in critically ill patients.
Rao received her bachelor’s in electronics engineering from Pune University in India in 1993, her master’s in computer engineering from Michigan State University in 1997, and her Doctor of Pharmacy in 2011 and master’s of pharmaceutical sciences in 2015 from the University of Buffalo.