Ravinder N.M. Sehgal
Professor, Department of Biology, San Francisco State University

My research program focuses on the biology of avian blood parasites. The work encompasses many aspects of biology including molecular parasitology, ecology, evolution, and conservation genetics. In collaboration with researchers at the Center for Tropical Research at UCLA,  the Institute of Ecology at Vilnius University, Lithuania, and the University of Buea, Cameroon, my group studies the effects of deforestation on the spread of infectious diseases in African rainforest birds. Since 1990, a unique set of blood samples has been collected from over 200 rainforest bird species in a variety of habitats across Cameroon, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea and Uganda. Significantly, the samples were collected from sites both before and after habitat degradation, permitting a unique examination into the direct effects of human induced habitat alterations. Using complementary techniques of blood smear analysis, and molecular biology, samples are assayed for the pathogens that cause malaria, trypanosomiasis, filiariasis and viruses. We have found that some parasites are entirely host specific and others are host generalists.  We are examining the molecular basis for these patterns of host specificity and the origins of pathogenicity.  In addition, we use satellite imagery data to predict how changes in forest composition may affect the spread of diseases in the future.

Through collaborations with UC Davis and the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, we are studying the ecology of infectious avian blood parasites in California hummingbirds,  passerines and birds of prey.   Researchers in our Laboratory of Avian Parasitology utilize DNA sequencing, genomics,  transcriptomics, microscopy and fieldwork to address these questions regarding the host specificity, pathogenicity and transmission of avian blood parasites. 


Research Interests





Last updated 11. September. 2020
Research Interests
Ecology of Infectious Disease.
Molecular Parasitology of Birds. 
Conservation Genetics. 

Department of Biology
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Ave.
San Francisco, CA, 94132, USA 
Office Location: Hensill Hall 723   
Office Phone: 415.405.0329 
FAX: 415.338.2295 
email: sehgal@sfsu.edu