University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food & Environment


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Molecular Virology Laboratory

PI's Background | Current Research Projects | Research Funding | Lab Members |

Publications | Reagents | Opportunities NEW May 7, 2015 | Lab Spotlight | Photos | Links

Udeni B.R. Balasuriya, BVSc, MS, PhD
(859) 218-1124

Principal Investigator’s Background 

Dr. Balasuriya received his B.V.Sc. degree from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka in 1985, after which he became a Veterinary Research Officer at the Veterinary Research Institute in Sri Lanka.  In 1989, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to complete a Masters degree in Comparative Pathology with special emphasis in diagnostic pathology at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis (UCD).  He received his Ph.D. degree in Comparative Pathology with special emphasis in molecular virology from UCD in 1996, after which he continued his research training as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Veterinary Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology.  In 1997, he was promoted to a Research Molecular Virologist and continued his work on the molecular characterization of equine arteritis virus (EAV).  In 2005, he accepted the position of Associate Professor of Virology at the Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center, Department of Veterinary Science, University of Kentucky.  As a faculty member at the Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center, he has established several national and international collaborations to facilitate exchange of scientists, reagents and information focused on EAV, EHV-1 and other equine viral diseases.  His laboratory also provides a dynamic, first-rate research training environment to develop the next generation of research scientists.

The major research focus of Dr. Balasuriya’s laboratory is to characterize the molecular epidemiology and pathogenesis of equine arteritis virus (EAV) and equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) infections of horses and develop improved recombinant vaccines to prevent infection of horses with these viruses, as well as to develop improved tests to diagnose the infections.  In addition, some of the recent studies in his laboratory are focused on characterizing the virus-host interactions by combining contemporary molecular biology techniques and host genomic analysis using genome-wide association study (GWAS). 

Current Research Projects

Equine Arteritis Virus

Identification of Host Genetic Factors Responsible for Establishment of EAV Carrier State
Genetic Determinants of Virulence and Attenuation of EAV
Mechanisms of EAV Pathogenesis and Persistent Infection of Stallions
Molecular Epidemiology of EAV Infection and Evolution of EAV
Characterization of Equine Immune Response to EAV Infection

Equine Herpesvirus-1

Molecular Characterization of Neurovirulent EHV-1 Strains
In vitro antiviral activity of herpesvirus DNA polymerase inhibitors against neuropathogenic and non-neuropathogenic strains of EHV-1

Development and Validation of New Diagnostic Assays for Equine Viral Diseases

Molecular Diagnostic Assays
Serological Assays
Fishing for Novel Pathogens

Development of Improved Prophylactic Reagents


Research Funding

Current and Past Funding Sources

Lab Members

Current Laboratory Members

Visiting Scientists (Current and Past)

Former Laboratory Members


Peer-Reviewed Publications (1993-2012)


Research and Diagnostic Reagents

Submitting Samples to Gluck O.I.E. Reference Laboratories

Ordering Diagnostic Reagents from Equine Molecular Diagnostics
Reagent List

Research Opportunities

Current Openings


Prospective Postdoctoral and Graduate Students

Prospective Undergraduate Students

Prospective Visiting Scientists


Lab Spotlight


UK Graduate Student Spotlight

Gluck Center Develops New PCR Assay for EHV-1


Balasuriya Lab Photos

Meetings and Social Events


Equine Genomics 

Immunology Reagents

Upcoming Meeting Websites

Virology Websites

Library Websites

Bioinformatics Websites


Animal Health Related Websites

Government Websites

Other Links




Maxwell H.Gluck Equine Research Center
Department of Veterinary Science, University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40546-0099

Main Office (859) 257-4757
Fax (859) 257-8542