Smriti  Mehra 
Research Assistant Professor
Bachelor's Degree(s): B.S., University of Delhi, India
Master's Degree: M.S., University of Delhi, India
PhD: Ph.D., University of Delhi, India
Diplomates: Diplomate in Biotechnology, University of Delhi, India
Phone: 225-578-9695
Office: 3102



Dr. Smriti Mehra is responsible for developing her independent research program in tuberculosis (TB). TB remains an enormous
public health problem because the bacterium (Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Mtb) has evolved to evade removal by our immunity.
Multidrug resistant (MDR), extensively drug-resistant (XDR), and possibly totally drug-resistant (TDR) strains of Mtb are an emerging
problem. Dr. Mehra holds Assistant Professor positions in Pathobiological Sciences at the LSU SVM and in the Division of Microbiology at the Tulane National Primate Research Center. 


Area of Interest

Dr. Mehra employs a nonhuman primate model of TB in rhesus macaques via infecting Mtb aerosols. Her research interests are: 1) to evaluate potential novel vaccines for their safety and efficacy; 2) to study the role of host negative regulators of T cell function; and 3) to test the safety and efficacy of recombinant/attenuated Bacille Calmette-Guerin strains as part of prime-boost vaccines against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection. She uses a bioinformatics approach to the identification of virulent genes of Mtb. 


Awards & Honors

1994 Passed the Graduate Aptitude Test Examination, Govt. of India
1994 Junior Research Fellowship, University Grants Commission, India.
1997 Senior Research Fellowship, University Grants Commission, India.

2009 Recipient  of  the  Beginning  Scientist  Award  by  Tulane  Center  for  Infectious Diseases.

2010 Recipient  of  the  Young  Scientist  Award  at  the  Annual  NHP  Models  of  AIDS Meeting in New Orleans, LA – Oral Presentation.

2011 Session  Chair  –  Post  doctoral  Fellows  Session,  First  Louisiana  Tuberculosis Symposium, Covington, LA (Apr 19-­‐20th, 2012)
2012-­‐ Ad hoc reviewer, PLoS ONE

2013 Primary   reviewer   for   NIH   RFA   -­‐     RFA-­‐AI-­‐12-­‐044,   Centers   of   Excellence   for Translational  Research  (CETR)   (U19)

2013-­‐ Judge, Tulane Research Days

2013-­‐ Ad hoc reviewer, Infection and Immunity

2013-­‐ Member,  doctoral  thesis  advisory  committee  for  Hope  Clay,  DVM  –  PhD Candidate with Tulane Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program

2013-­‐ Member,  doctoral  thesis  advisory  committee  for  J  Alan  Goggins,  BS  –  PhD Candidate with Tulane Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program

2014-­‐ Member,  doctoral  thesis  advisory  committee  for  Ashley  Veatch,  BS  –  PhD Candidate with Tulane Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program

2014-­‐ Primary reviewer, NIH/NIAID Special Emphasis Study Section on RFA-­‐AI-­‐14-­‐028: Modeling Immunity for Biodefense (U19)


Selected Publications

A. In review


1. Kuroda MJ, Sugimoto C, Mehra S, Kissee R, Alvarez X, Niu T, Kaushal D. SIV co-­‐infection mediated reactivation of latent TB in macaques correlates with acute destruction of CD206+ monocytes rather than CD4 lymphocyte depletion in the lung. Nature Med. In review.


2. Srivastava S, Musuka S, Pasipanodya JG, Meek C, Leff R, Wasana C, Dona S, Gautam US, Mehra S, Kaushal D, Wakeland E, Gumbo T. A chemical defense symphony responsible for the multi-­‐drug tolerance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis persisters. Nature Genet. In review.

3. Gautam US, Mehra S, Alvarez X, Niu T, Kaushal D. Effect of hypoxia on the interaction of Mycobacterium tuberculosis hypoxia-­‐response deficient mutants with host macrophages. J Infect Dis. In review.


4. Mehra S, Kissee R, Golden NA, Didier PJ, Doyle LA, Russell-­‐Lodrigue KE, Blanchard JL, Kaushal D. Genetic requirements for the survival of tubercle bacilli in primate lungs during persistent and reactivation TB. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. In review.


B. In revision


5. Kaushal D, Foreman TW, Adekambi T, Ahsan MH, Phillips B, Golden NA, Kissee R, Johnson-­‐May AF, Didier PJ, Roy CJ, Didier PJ, Doyle LA, Russell-­‐Lodrigue KE, Blanchard JL, Khader SA, Rengarajan J, Mehra S. Mucosal exposure to a stress-­‐response deficient strain of Mycobacterium tuberculosis protects primates against lethal tuberculosis. Nature Med. In revision.


6. Dutta NK, Mehra S, Golden NA, Roy CJ, Didier PJ, Kaushal D. Thioridazine is only partially effective in controlling the replication of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the mouse model of TB. Antimicrobial Agents Chemother. In revision.


7. Kaushal D, Niu T, Mehra S. Serum C-­‐reactive protein and albumin/globulin ratios as biomarkers for active tuberculosis in the nonhuman primate model: implications for vaccine design. J Infect Dis. In revision.


8. Mehra S, Salamon H, Golden NA, Lackner AA, Kaushal D. Lung transcript markers of active and latent tuberculosis infections. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. In revision.


9. Foreman TW, Kaushal D, Mehra S. An isogenic Mycobacterium tuberculosis-­‐mutant in SigmaH is safe in macaques with SIV-­‐AIDS. J Infect Dis. In revision.


10. Levine D, Dutta NK, Mehra S, Scanga C, Kaushal D, Karakousis P, Salamon H. A tuberculosis ontology for host systems biology. Tuberculosis. In revision.


C. Accepted/In press


11. Mehra S, Gautam US, Ahsan MH, McGillivray A, Kissee R, Roy CJ, Didier PJ, Blanchard JL, Doyle-­‐Meeker LA, Niu T, Lackner AA, Sherman DR, Kaushal D. The DosR regulon modulates adaptive immunity and is essential for M. tuberculosis persistence. Am J Resp Crit Care Med. In press. (Impact factor = 12.0).

12. Gautam US, McGillivray A, Mehra S, Kissee R, Ahsan MH, Didier PJ, Gumber S, Rengarajan J, Sherman DR, Kaushal D. DosS is required for the complete virulence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in mice with classical granulomatous lesions. Am J Resp Cell Mol Biol. In press. (Impact factor = 4.2).


13. Phillip BL, Mehra S, Ahsan MH, Kaushal D. LAG3 expression in active Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections. Am J Pathol. In press. (Impact factor = 4.7).


B.  Published


14. Luo Q, Mehra S, Golden NA, KAushal D, Lacey MR. 2014. Identification of biomarkers for tuberculosis susceptibility via integrated ananlysis of gene expression and longitudinal clinical data. Front Genet. 5:240. (Impact factor = 5.0).


15. Darrah PA, Bolton DL, Lackner AA, Aye PP, Mehra S, Kaushal D, Roy CJ, Blanchard JL, Rao SS, Scanga CA, Hokey DA, Sizemore DR, Sadoff JC, Roedererr M, Seder RA. 2014. Aerosol vaccination with AERAS-­‐402 Elicits Robust Cellular Immune Responses in the Lungs of Nonhuman Primates but Fails to Protect Against High-­‐Dose Mycobacterium tuberculosis Challenge. J Immunol. 193:1799-­‐1811. (Impact factor = 5.4).


16. McGillivray A, Golden NA, Gautam US, Mehra S, Kaushal D. 2014. The Mycobacterium tuberculosis Rv2745c Plays an Important Role in Responding to Redox Stress. PLoS ONE. 9:e93604. (Impact factor = 3.9).


17. Gautam US, Mehra S, Alvarez X, Niu T, Kaushal D. 2014. Role of TNF in the altered interaction of dormant Mycobacterium tuberculosis with host macrophages. PLoS ONE. 9:e95220. (Impact factor = 3.9).


18. Dutta NK, McLachlan JB, Mehra S, Kaushal D. 2014. Lung responses to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in a primate model of protection. Trials Vaccinol. 3: 47-­‐51.


19. Gopal R, Monin L, Torres D, Slight S, Mehra S, McKenna K, Fallert Junecko BA, Reinhart TA, Kolls J, Baez-­‐Saldana R, Cruz-­‐Lagunas A, Rodriguez-­‐ Reyna TS, Kumar NP, Tessier P, Roth J, Selman M, Becerril-­‐Villanueva E, Baquera-­‐Heredia J, Cumming B, Kasprowicz VO, Steyne AJC, Babu S, Kaushal D, Zuniga J, Vogl T, Rangel-­‐Moreno J, Khader SA. 2013. S100A8/A9 proteins mediate neutrophilic inflammation and lung pathology during tuberculosis. Am J Resp Crit Care Med.188:1137-­‐46. (Impact factor = 12.0).

20. Slight SR, Rangel-­‐Moreno J, Lin Y, Gopal R, Fallert BA, Mehra S, Selman M, Becerril-­‐ Villanueva E, Baquera-­‐Heredia J, Pavon L, Kaushal D, Reinhart TA, Randall TD, Khader SA. 2013. CXCR5+ T follicular helper cells expressing Interferon gamma mediate protective immunity against pulmonary tuberculosis. J Clin Invest. 123:712–726. (Impact factor = 13.5).


21. Martinez AN, Mehra S, Kaushal D. 2013.   Role of interleukin 6 in innate immunity to
Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. J Infect Dis. 207:1253-­‐1261. (Impact factor = 5.9).


22. Mehra S, Alvarez X, Didier PJ, Doyle LA, Blanchard J, Lackner AA, Kaushal D. 2013. Granuloma Correlates of Protection Against TB in nonhuman primates and Mechanisms of Immune Modulation by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. J Infect Dis. 207:115-­‐1127 (Cover art article). (Impact factor = 5.9).


23. Renner NA, Sansing HA, Inglis FM, Mehra S, Lackner AA, Kaushal D, MacLean AG 2013. Transient acidification and subsequent proinflammatory cytokine stimulation of astrocytes induce distinct activation phenotypes. J Cell Physiol. 228: 1284-­‐94. (Impact  factor = 3.8).


24. Bao L, Hazari S, Mehra S, Kaushal D, Moroz K, Dash S. 2012. Increased expression of P-­‐ glycoprotein and doxorubicin chemoresistance of metastatic breast cancer regulated by miR-­‐298. Am J Pathol. 180:2490-­‐503. (Impact factor = 4.7).


25. Kaushal D, Mehra S. 2012. Faithful experimental models of human Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. Mycobact Dis. 2:1.


26. Kaushal D, Mehra S, Didier PJ, Lackner AA. 2012. The nonhuman primate model of tuberculosis. J Med Primatol. 41:191-­‐201. (Impact factor = 1.4).


27. Roy CJ*, Sivasubramani SK*, Dutta NK*, Mehra S*, Golden N, Killeen S, Talton J, Hammoud B, Didier PJ, Kaushal D. 2012. Aerosolized Gtenamicin Reduces the Burden of Tuberculosis in a Murine Model. Antimicrobial Agents Chemother. 56: 883-­‐886. (*equal first authors). (Impact factor = 4.5).


28. Mehra S, Golden NA, Stuckey KJ, Didier PJ, Doyle LA, Russell-­‐Lodrigue KE, Sugimoto C, Hasegawa A, Sivasubramani SK, Roy CJ, Alvarez X, Kuroda MJ, Blanchard JL, Lackner AA, Kaushal D. 2012. The Mycobacterium tuberculosis SigH is required for bacterial burden as well as immunopathology in primates. J Infect Dis. 205: 1203-­‐1213. Accompanied by editorial   commentary:   SigH,   Antioxidants   and   the   Pathogenesis   of   Pulmonary Tuberculosis. (Impact factor = 5.9).


29. Dutta NK, Mehra S, Martinez AN, Alvarez X, Renner NA, Pahar B, Morici LA, MacLean AG, Lackner AA & Kaushal D. 2012. The Stress-­‐Response Factor SigH Modulates the Interaction between Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Host Phagocytes. PLoS ONE. 7: e28958. (Impact factor = 3.9).


30. Mehra S, Didier PJ, Golden NA, Asher M, Doyle LA, Russell-­‐Lodrigue K, Roy C, Blanchard JL, Veazey RS, Lackner AA & Kaushal D. 2011. Reactivation of latent tuberculosis in rhesus macaques by SIV co-­‐infection. J Med Primatol. 40:233-­‐43. (Impact factor = 1.4).


31. Sestak K, Conroy L, Aye PP, Mehra S, Doxiadis GG & Kaushal D. 2011. Improved Xenobiotic Metabolism and Reduced Susceptibility to Cancer in Gluten-­‐Sensitive Macaques upon Introduction of a Gluten-­‐Free Diet. PLoS ONE. 6:e18648. (Impact factor = 3.9).


32. Mehra S, Pahar B, Dutta NK, Conerly C, Philippi-­‐Falkenstein K, Alvarez X & Kaushal D. 2010. Transcriptional Reprogramming in Nonhuman Primate (Rhesus Macaque) Tuberculosis Granulomas. PLoS ONE. e:12266. (Impact factor = 3.9).


33. Mehra S, Dutta NK, Mollenkopf  H-­‐J &  Kaushal D. 2010. MT2816 encodes  a key Mycobacterium tuberculosis stress response factor. J Infect Dis. 202:943-­‐53. (Impact  factor = 5.9).


34. Dutta NK, Mehra S, Kaushal D. 2010. A Mycobacterium tuberculosis sigma factor network responds to cell-­‐envelope damage by the promising anti-­‐mycobacterial thioridazine. PLoS ONE. 5:e10069. (Impact factor = 3.9).


35. Dutta NK, Mehra S, Didier PJ, Roy CJ, Doyle LA, Ratterree M, Alvarez X, Be N, Lamichhane G, Jain SK, Lacey MR, Lackner AA, Kaushal D. 2010. Genetic requirements for the survival of tubercle bacilli in primates. J Infect Dis. 201: 1743-­‐52. (Impact factor = 5.9).


36. Pemble CW 4th, Mehta PK, Mehra S, Li Z, Nourse A, Lee RE, White SW. 2010. Crystal structure of the 6-­‐hydroxymethyl-­‐7, 8-­‐dihydropterin pyrophosphokinase dihydropteroate synthase bifunctional enzyme from Francisella tularensis. PLoS ONE. 5:e14165. (Impact  factor = 3.9).

37. Mehra S,  Kaushal D.  2009. Functional  genomics reveals extended  roles of  the Mycobacterium tuberculosis stress response factor H. J Bacteriol. 191: 3965-­‐3980.  (Impact factor = 3.9).


38. Rowland JL, Panta GR, Mehra S, Parmentier-­‐Line C. 2006. Molecular genetic and physiological analysis of the cold responsive dehydrins of blueberry. Adaptations and Responses of Woody Plants to Environmental Stresses. Ed. R. Arora.


39. Rowland LJ, Panta GR, Mehra S, Parmentier-­‐Line C. 2004. Molecular genetic and physiological analysis of the cold responsive dehydrins of blueberry. J Crop Improv. 10:53-­‐76.


40. Rowland LJ, Mehra S, Dhanaraj A, Ogden EL, Arora R. 2003. Identification of molecular markers associated with cold tolerance in blueberry. Acta Hort Proc. 625:59-­‐69.


41. Rowland LJ, Smriti M, Dhanaraj A, Ehlenfeldt MK, Ogden EL, Slovin JP.  2003. Development of EST-­‐PCR markers for DNA fingerprinting and mapping in blueberry (vaccinium, section cyanococcus). J Am Soc Hort Sci. 128 (5):682-­‐690.


42. Rowland LJ, Mehra S, Dhanaraja AL, Polashoch JJ & Arora R. 2003. Utility of blueberry-­‐ derived EST-­‐PCR primers in related Ericaceae species. Hortiscience. 38: 1428-­‐1432.


43. Mehra S, Panta GR, Rowland LJ. 2001. A comparison of bbdhn1 (blueberry dehydrin 1) alleles from cold sensitive and cold tolerant parent plants of a blueberry mapping population. Plant Biol. v. 2001. p 363.


44. Pental D, Pradhan A. Mukhopadhyay A, Gupta V, Arumugam N, Sodhi YS, Burma PK, Verma J, Jagannath A. Bandyopadhyay P, Phogat S, Mehra S & Srivastava S. 2001. Rapeseed-­‐Mustard at the Doorstep of the New Millennium Ed.s AK Bhatnagar, RK Shukla and HB Singh. New Delhi, Research Co. Book Centre, Breeding of oilseed Brassica species by a combination of conventional Breeding and Genetic Engineering.


45. Mehra S, Pareek A, Bandyopadhay P, Sharma P, Burma PK & Pental D. 2000. Development of transgenics in Indian oilseed mustard (Brassica juncea) resistant to herbicide phosphinothricin. Current Sci. 78: (11) 1358-­‐1364.