Rick L. Tarleton
Distinguished Research Professor of Cellular Biology, Director of UGA's Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases
Rick Tarleton, Athletic Association Distinguished Professor in the Biological Sciences and Distinguished Research Professor, is internationally recognized for his ground-breaking research on Chagas disease and its cause, the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. Since its establishment at UGA in 1984, the Tarleton laboratory has been a constant source of discovery and innovation. Tarleton’s early research demonstrated that the heart and intestinal destruction associated with Chagas was not the result of immune system dysfunction, as was commonly thought, but was caused by persistent parasitic infection. He has developed a highly productive collaboration with investigators in Argentina, and their studies validated the use of mouse models for the study of Chagas disease. Tarleton has also partnered with numerous groups to ensure his research findings are applied to help those affected by this neglected disease of poverty. His lab is currently developing a promising transmission-blocking vaccine for animals, which are the primary source of parasites that go on to infect humans.