Subash Babu, M.B.B.S., Ph.D.

Helminth Immunology Section

Subash Babu, M.B.B.S., Ph.D.

Staff Scientist, Helminth Immunology Section
Scientific Director, NIAID ICER India

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Headshot photograph of Dr. Subash Babu

Major Areas of Research

  • Host response to helminth infection and pathogenesis of helminthic disease 
  • Modulation of immune responses in co-infections and comorbidities such as tuberculosis (TB), viral infections, undernutrition, obesity, and type 2 diabetes mellitus by helminth infections
  • Immune responses, pathogenesis and biomarker discovery in pulmonary and extrapulmonary TB, and the effect of co-infections and comorbidities (diabetes mellitus. malnutrition, HIV, dengue, and SARS-CoV-2) on TB immunity and pathogenesis
  • Immune responses in and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection, adult and pediatric COVID-19 disease, and multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C)
  • Immune responses to vaccination in different populations including Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination in the elderly and COVID-19 vaccination in all age groups

Program Description

Dr. Babu’s research focus is on two major thematic areas: 1) immunology of infections and 2) intersection of infectious diseases with metabolic disorders. Our group works on the immunology, pathogenesis, and epidemiology of helminth infections (particularly filariasis, strongyloidiasis, and hookworms), TB, and coexistent infectious diseases (helminths/ viruses and TB). Our group also works on the immunological and clinical outcomes of the interaction between diabetes mellitus (and other metabolic disorders) and TB, helminths (and other infectious diseases). 

Our studies have examined and described 1) the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of human W. bancrofti and other helminth infections; 2) the influences of helminth infections on the outcomes of metabolic disorders; 3) the correlates of protective immunity to TB, as well as its diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers; 4) the interface between diabetes mellitus/malnutrition and M. tuberculosis; 5) the immune responses in adult and pediatric COVID-19 and the pathogenesis of MIS-C; and 6) vaccine-engendered immune responses, including BCG and SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

ICER India

Dr. Babu is the Scientific Director of the NIAID International Center for Excellence in Research (ICER) in India, a collaborative research partnership between NIAID and the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, specifically the Department of Health Research (DHR) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). 



M.B.B.S., 1993, Govt. Kilpauk Medical College/ University of Madras, India

Ph.D., 1999, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

Dr. Subash Babu earned his medical degree in 1993 from the Govt. Kilpauk Medical College/ University of Madras, India. He was awarded a WHO/TDR Senior Research Fellowship (1993 – 1994), and worked as a medical researcher in Chennai. He then earned a Ph.D. in immunology (1994 – 1999) from the University of Connecticut. For his doctoral work, he received the Lepow Memorial Award for the best graduate thesis at the same university. Following a one-year postdoctoral fellowship (1999 – 2000) at the University of Connecticut, Dr. Babu joined NIAID as a visiting fellow (2000 – 2005) in Dr. Thomas Nutman’s lab and conducted original research on the human immune response in filarial infections. In 2003, he was appointed as a staff scientist in the NIAID ICER program in India to continue helminth infections research work in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Since 2006, he has served as the scientific director of NIAID ICER India and works on the epidemiology and immunology of infectious diseases prevalent in India, including helminth infections, TB, HIV, and COVID-19. Dr. Babu is a principal investigator in the RePORT India consortium. He is also on numerous advisory committees and editorial boards and has authored over 225 papers and book chapters. 

Clinical Studies

ICER202201 Regional Prospective Observational Research in Tuberculosis (RePORT)- Phase 2. (India, USA) Principal Investigator

ICER202101 Adult BCG revaccination induced Antibody and cTfh responses in Latent Tuberculosis individuals with or without diabetes mellitus. (India, Switzerland) Principal Investigator 

ICER202001 A cross-sectional study to estimate the influence of malnutrition, diabetes mellitus and helminth infections on biosignatures in latent tuberculosis in a South Indian population. (India, USA) NCT04526613 Principal Investigator

ICER202002 A pilot study of the effects of helminth infection and SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity on immune response and the intestinal microbiota in India. (India, USA) NCT04813328 Principal Investigator

ICER202003-02  Impact of COVID-19 on clinical manifestations, diagnosis, treatment outcome and immune response for pulmonary tuberculosis - “Associative BRICS Research in COVID-19 and Tuberculosis”. (India, Brazil, South Africa) NCT04930978 Advisor

ICER201701 Effect of Pre-diabetes on Tuberculosis severity. (India, USA) Principal Investigator

ICER201301 Host response to Infection and Treatment in Lymphatic Filarial Disease and Strongyloidiasis in India. (India, USA) NCT00342576 Principal Investigator

ICER201201 Effect of Helminth Infection on Antigen-Specific Immune Responses in Latent Tuberculosis in South India. (India, USA) NCT01547884 Principal Investigator

ICER200901 Characterization of immune responses in pulmonary TB patients who are with or without Diabetes mellitus. (India, USA) NCT01154959 Principal Investigator

ICER200701 Effect of albendazole dose and interval on Wuchereria bancrofti microfilarial clearance in India: a randomized, open label study. (India, USA) NCT00375583 Principal Investigator

ICER201501 Impact of Immune Changes in Pregnancy on Tuberculosis in HIV infected and uninfected women. (India, USA) Associate Investigator 

ICER201401 Effects of Diabetes on Tuberculosis severity. (India, USA) Associate Investigator

ICER200601 The Effect of Parasitic Worm Infections on the Immune Response to Tuberculosis Bacteria (India, USA) NCT00342017 Associate Investigator

ICER200602 Changes in HIV Viral Load in Patients Undergoing Treatment for Filariasis (India, USA) NCT00344279 Associate Investigator 

ICER India (Projects within India)
ICER202102 Characterization and Durability of COVID-19 vaccine induced immune responses in healthcare/frontline workers. NCT05049187 Principal Investigator

ICER202003-01 Impact of COVID-19 on clinical manifestations, diagnosis, treatment outcome and immune response for pulmonary tuberculosis. NCT04930978 Principal Investigator

ICER202004 Study to Evaluate the Effectiveness of the BCG vaccine in Reducing Morbidity and Mortality in Elderly individuals in COVID-19 Hotspots in India. NCT04475302 Principal Investigator

ICER202005 Role of neutralizing antibodies and inflammatory biomarkers in children with Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome - Temporally Associated with SARS-CoV-2 (PIMS-TS). CTRI/2021/01/030605 Principal Investigator

ICER202006 An observational study of clinical and immunological features of children with SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) infection over a period of 12 to 16 weeks. Principal Investigator

ICER202007 Humoral and cellular immune response among recovered COVID-19 patients: A cross-sectional study, Tiruvallur district and Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, 2020. Principal Investigator

ICER 202008 A cross sectional study of the systems immunology and viral diversity of SARS-CoV2 infection, COVID-19 disease and Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children. NCT04844242 Principal Investigator

ICER201901 Systems biology and immunology of the effect of tuberculosis chemoprophylaxis in HIV infection. Principal Investigator

ICER201001  Characterization of immune responses in treatment-induced latency in pulmonary tuberculosis. NCT01154959 Principal Investigator

ICER201002 Characterization of immune responses in active tuberculosis infection. Principal Investigator

ICER201003 Characterization of Immune Responses in Tuberculosis Lymphadenitis. Principal Investigator 

ICER202103 Prevalence of cardiopulmonary vascular defects among post-COVID-19 patients using Q-SPECT/CT hybrid imaging and correlation with biomarkers for prognostication – a longitudinal study (POCOS). Associate Investigator

ICER202104 A longitudinal observational study on the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection on Immune responses to Tuberculosis in children and adolescents (TB COVID KIDS). Associate Investigator 

ICER202009 Role of Vitamin C supplement as an adjunct to tuberculosis treatment in new smear sputum positive pulmonary tuberculosis – An exploratory trial.  Associate Investigator

ICER201702 A Phase IIB Open Label Randomized trial to evaluate the anti-bacterial activity, pharmacokinetics, safety and tolerability of Metformin when given with RIPE in adults with newly diagnosed sputum positive pulmonary tuberculosis: an 8-week study.  Associate Investigator

ICER201703 Phase IIb open label, parallel, randomized controlled trial to assess safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics & anti-bacterial activity of high dose rifampin vs Conventional dose rifampin in standard anti-TB therapy in drug sensitive Pulmonary TB in adults. Associate Investigator 

ICER201502 Characterization of Immune Responses in Drug Resistant Pulmonary Tuberculosis. Associate Investigator

Selected Publications

Nathella PK, Moideen K, Viswanathan V, Sivakumar S, Ahamed SF, Ponnuraja C, Hissar S, Kornfeld H, Babu S. Heightened microbial translocation is a prognostic biomarker of recurrent tuberculosis. Clin Infect Dis. 2022 Mar 30:ciac236. 

Pavan Kumar N, Padmapriyadarsini C, Rajamanickam A, Marinaik SB, Nancy A, Padmanaban S, Akbar N, Murhekar M, Babu S. Effect of BCG vaccination on proinflammatory responses in elderly individuals. Sci Adv. 2021 Aug 4;7(32):eabg7181. 

Venkataraman A, Kumar NP, Hanna LE, Putlibai S, Karthick M, Rajamanikam A, Sadasivam K, Sundaram B, Babu S. Plasma biomarker profiling of PIMS-TS, COVID-19 and SARS-CoV2 seropositive children - a cross-sectional observational study from southern India. EBioMedicine. 2021 Apr;66:103317. 

Kumar NP, Kathamuthu GR, Moideen K, Banurekha VV, Nair D, Fay MP, Nutman TB, Babu S. Strongyloides stercoralis Coinfection Is Associated With Greater Disease Severity, Higher Bacterial Burden, and Elevated Plasma Matrix Metalloproteinases in Pulmonary Tuberculosis. J Infect Dis. 2020 Aug 17;222(6):1021-1026. 

Rajamanickam A, Munisankar S, Bhootra Y, Dolla C, Thiruvengadam K, Nutman TB, Babu S. Metabolic Consequences of Concomitant Strongyloides stercoralis Infection in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Clin Infect Dis. 2019 Aug 1;69(4):697-704.

Anuradha R, George PJ, Pavan Kumar N, Fay MP, Kumaraswami V, Nutman TB, Babu S. Circulating microbial products and acute phase proteins as markers of pathogenesis in lymphatic filarial disease. PLoS Pathog. 2012;8(6):e1002749. 

Visit PubMed for a complete publications listing.

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