Distinguished Research Professor

The title of Distinguished Research Professor is awarded to faculty who are recognized internationally for their original contributions to knowledge and whose work promises to foster continued creativity in their discipline.
  • Written by: James E. Hataway
  • Photography by: Robert Newcomb
  • Video by: UGA Broadcast, Video & Photography

Roberto Docampo

Professor of cellular biology and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar
Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

Roberto Docampo, a professor of cellular biology and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, is renowned for his work on Chagas disease and sleeping sickness, potentially fatal parasitic infections that have ravaged populations in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, respectively.

He is credited with discovering a new organelle inside the disease-causing trypanosome parasites that he and his colleagues call the acidocalcisome, which is responsible for numerous critical cell functions required for parasite growth and replication. Since acidocalcisomes from less complex organisms, such as bacteria and trypanosomes, possess enzymes absent in mammalian cells, the organelles are excellent targets for the chemotherapy of a number of neglected and tropical diseases.

But Docampo’s discoveries have applications beyond the treatment of infectious diseases; he found that human organelles similar to the acidocalcisome play an important role in blood clotting and inflammation, which may lead to new therapies for uncontrollable bleeding, thrombosis and immune diseases.

2016 Distinguished Research Professor: