portrait of Dr. Michael Dake

Deepta Bhattacharya named inaugural executive director of CAMI

May 13, 2024

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that Deepta Bhattacharya, PhD, has accepted the position of inaugural executive director of the Center for Advanced Molecular and Immunological Therapies.

portrait of immunologist Deepta Bhattacharya at his desk at the University of Arizona Health Sciences

Deepta Bhattacharya, PhD

Photo by Kris Hanning, UArizona Health Sciences Office of Communications

Since joining the University of Arizona Health Sciences in 2017, Dr. Bhattacharya has become an integral part of the College of Medicine – Tucson’s Department of Immunobiology, as well as somewhat of a national celebrity. His seminal work on SARS-CoV-2 immunity with Dr. Janko Nikolich resulted in one of the world’s most accurate antibody tests for the coronavirus. That accomplishment placed both researchers in the national spotlight and led to news coverage in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Atlantic, NPR and many other high-profile media outlets.

In addition to his notable work during the pandemic, Dr. Bhattacharya investigates stem cells and antibody responses to infections and vaccines. His work uncovered a new target for developing vaccines against flaviviruses, which infect more than 400 million people a year with diseases such as dengue, yellow fever, West Nile, Zika and Japanese encephalitis.

I am particularly excited about one of his most recent publications, which has the potential to revolutionize regenerative medicine and organ transplantation. Using CRISPR-Cas9 technology, Dr. Bhattacharya genetically engineered pluripotent stem cells to evade recognition by the immune system. The technology, which is licensed to a startup that includes Dr. Bhattacharya, offers a viable path forward toward pluripotent stem cell-based transplants without immune suppressing patients and therapies to restore tissues that are lost in diseases such as Type 1 diabetes or macular degeneration.

Dr. Bhattacharya’s background and track record of collaboration, innovation and translational research make him well qualified to lead CAMI. He received his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University, where he studied the cell biology of hematopoietic stem cells and their differentiated progeny. He started his own lab at Washington University in St. Louis before returning to Tucson, his birthplace, to join the Department of Immunobiology.

Recently, I was proud to share the stage with Dr. Bhattacharya at the Spirit of Wonder TEDxUArizona event, where we talked about the immune system’s pivotal role in precision medicine. It is clear we share the same vision for CAMI and an unwavering belief in its potential to redefine patient care and advance medical research.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Bhattacharya on his appointment as the inaugural executive director of CAMI.

Michael D. Dake, MD
Senior Vice President for the University of Arizona Health Sciences