Professor Gavalchin received a B.S. in Microbiology from Rutgers College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, in 1977 and a PhD in Microbiology from The Graduate School, Rutgers University, NJ in 1983. She completed postdoctoral studies from 1982-1986 in the laboratory of Syamal Datta, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, focusing on immumopathogenesis of SLE. In 1986, she joined the Rheumatology Section, Depts. of Medicine & Microbiology, SUNY Health Science Center, Syracuse, NY, as a Research Assistant Professor. In 1987, she was named Assistant Professor, Hematology/Oncology Section, Depts. of Medicine & Microbiology, SUNY Health Science Center, Syracuse, NY, and was promoted with tenure to Associate Professor in 1992. In 2000, she was promoted to Professor. Since 1999, she has held a joint appointment at Cornell University. From 1999-2003, she held the appointment of Adjunct Associate Professor, The Baker Institute for Animal Health, Department of Microbiology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. From 2003 to the present she has been Associate Professor, Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
The research being conducted in my laboratory aims to identify the pathogenetic mechanisms involved in systemic autoimmune diseases using a mouse model that develops a spontaneous lupus nephritis that is very similar to human SLE. We are also investigating whether estrogen receptor expression on immune cells is responsible, in part, for gender bias in immune responses, including autoimmune disease. Exposure to some toxic chemicals that behave like estrogen, such as dioxin, has been suggested to induce and/or modulate autoimmune diseases including SLE and diabetes, and we are determining whether these exposures are triggers or modulators of SLE.
Other research projects that I will be involved in will include of studies of M. paratuberculosis infection in cattle and sheep, and characterization of immunosuppression in dairy cattle, with a focus to derive strategies to improve animal health, and production. One new focus is the development of a low-cost, simple, and sensitive penside diagnostic assay for Johne's Disease. Similar approaches can be used for the development of assays against other pathogens.
Outreach and Extension Focus
A focus of our laboratory is developing and presenting activities for middle and high school students. One activity is Immunity and You –a web and CD-based Immunology Curriculum for high school
We also participate in many workshops like EYH and GEMS, aimed at interesting young girls in careers in science.
I also am involved in career development courses for undergraduates in animal science and informally mentor many students who are not my official advisees.
My teaching is focused on the impact of immunology in animal health and disease. Currently, I teach 1 3-credit course, Animal Science 3700, (enrollment -50 plus auditors) and a required 1-credit course , Animal Science 1105 (enrollment- 107 students). Each fall, I teach in Veterinary College Block IV, and each spring in Advanced Immunology Vet Sci 7050. Previously, in Spring 2010 I was the faculty member responsible for the Immunology Journal Club, VetMI 7231 (enrollment-15). I also participate in two summer courses in the Animal Science Department. In the past, I've lectured in Animal Science 1600, Animal Science 3800,
Awards and Honors
- Donald C. Burgett Distinguished Advisor Award (2014) CALS
- Professor of Merit (2013) CALS
Presentations and Activities
- Immune responses in the development of lupus nephritis in SNF1 mice. Rheumatology Grand Rounds. June 2015. SUNY Upstate Medical University. Syracuse, NY.