In Memorium of Radha Maheshwari

Uniformed Services University

In memoriam of Dr. Radha K. Maheshwari

Radha MaheshwariDr. Radha K Maheshwari received his Master’s degree  from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani in 1970, and Ph.D from the Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow (Degree awarded by Kanpur University, Kanpur, India)  in 1974.  He completed a Post-doctoral research fellowship in virology in India, then came to the NIH for a second post-doctoral fellowship.  In 1981 he came to USUHS as a Senior Research associate in 1984.  He had a very productive career and was promoted to Professor of Pathology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) in 1994. He established and coordinated Indo-USU Activities and has established comprehensive teaching and research programs with several institutions in India. He served as the Program Director of Graduate Education in the Department of Pathology and was actively involved in the Global Health initiative at USU.  Through his tremendous efforts, the only US-Indian MOU was established, enabling decades of student and faculty exchanges between the two countries.  Dr. Maheshwari’s   research interests have included the biology of Interferon Systems against membrane viruses including VSV, HSV and HIV; the role of Interferons/cytokines in malaria, Leishmania and fungal infections; the mechanisms of regulation of cytokines/growth factors by novel pharmacologic agents  in the enhancement of wound healing and tissue repair;  in the prevention of hemorrhage-induced injury;  the role of phytochemicals in angiogenesis in chemoprevention of prostate and breast cancer;  the mechanism of pathogenesis, biomarker and vaccine development against  alpha viruses; and in studying the role of microRNAs as biomarker and therapeutics in traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.  He has  published over 125 papers,  edited books, and written chapters and his  research  has been published in peer reviewed prestigious Journals such as Science , Nature, PNAS, Virology, Journal of Virology, Journal of Immunology, Infection and  Immunity and cell Growth and Differentiation , Host cell and Microbe, PLoS and Science News. He has served on NIH study sections and ECFMG panel for the selection of Physician fellows, and served as reviewer for several  scientific Journals.  Over his career he organized multiple workshops and symposia, including international workshops, served as Chairman in scientific sessions and has been invited to speak at many National and International meetings. Dr. Maheshwari has trained more than 50 graduate students and post-doctoral scientists. Dr. Maheshwari has actively contributed to Medical and graduate teaching program at USUHS.  He has lectured medical students in the MS II Pathology Course, participated in program planning, and organized a special presentation for medical students on the "Pathology of the Diseases of Under-Developed Countries--Especially Tropical Infections".  Dr. Maheshwari successfully competed for millions of Dollars of extramural funding from several funding agencies including National Institutes of Health, US Department of Defense, US Agency of International Development, US State Department, Office of the Naval Research, American Cancer Society and Samueli Institute of Informational Biology. 

Dr. Radha Maheshwari led multiple scientific and educational exchanges between USU and India and has been the founder and leader of the Annual USU Diwali celebration to promote diversity and cultural awareness. He was a first rate scholar, model mentor, and highly regarded colleague who is sorely missed.


Reflections on Dr. Radha Maheshwari     

We could talk hours about Radha’s accomplishments as a scientist, professor, mentor, his global perspectives and initiatives, hundreds of scientific papers, millions in grant funding, but what is most important to us is who Radha was.

Radha was a true gentleman. Always a true gentle man. He was kind, he always put others first. He was more excited about how many people he could bring together to collaborate on a grant, than on the actual dollar amount of the grant. 

Radha loved people. He loved to bring out the best in everyone. He loved his work, but much more he loved those that worked for him and with him. 

When he submitted a paper or a grant he would come to my office and say, “look how many people we have collaborating together on this paper or grant. This is the work of USUHS, AFRRI, and the Hospital.” The amount of collaboration's was most the most exciting part for him. Then he would follow with “see where my lab people are on this paper, they are listed first because they need this for their career.”  What drove Radha to work so hard was his desire to help others, to help the next generation of scientist be the best they can be. He measured his success not by what he accomplished, but by what his lab group accomplished collectively.

He often told me that mentoring his people is the most important thing he did. He loved to watch his people, his lab group, grow. He was a true academic gardener, planting the academic and scholar seeds, and then nurturing lovingly to full bloom.

Radha was a global thinker and doer. Moving collaborations with India forward was always on his mind. He was tireless in thinking about how could he create opportunities for both USU and India together, as much for faculty as for students.

Radha was deeply spiritual.  We had many conversations about Faith.  We always dwelled on the similarities in our beliefs.  Radha truly believed in always doing good, being generous, and in being positive.  He would not dwell on negative aspects of anyone, but strive to bring good to any situation.

Personally, I will miss Radha every morning as we used to ride the elevator together many mornings and joke that we were the “morning crew”. I will miss Radha’s smile and his kindness. I will miss Radha as a mentor always willing to give honest and sound advice, and I will especially miss Radha as a colleague and a friend.

Radha will not be forgotten, but he will continue to be ever present in our memories, he will continue to guide us in our work, and most importantly, he will always remain in our hearts.

Barbarba Knollmann-Ritschel