Fariba Donovan, MD, PhD

Fariba Donovan, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Medicine
Researcher, Valley Fever Center for Excellence
Member, BIO5 Institute
Member, Graduate Faculty

As both a practicing physician and a research scientist, Dr. Donovan has long cultivated a particular interest in medical mycology. After completing her residency in Iran, she attended graduate school at the Gifu University School of Medicine in Japan and obtained her Ph.D. Her research focus was on Candida albicans. Dr. Donovan developed specific training and expertise in protein purification, molecular biology and gene manipulation techniques. Her research focused on the identification of virulence factors and the interaction of the fungus with the human host.

After securing a post-doctoral fellowship position at the Medical College of Ohio, Dr. Donovan shifted her research to Coccidioides immitis. She identified and purified urease protein and constructed a urease knock out strain of this fungus which demonstrated lesser virulence in an animal model. Her research showed promise for the development of a Coccidioides immitis vaccine. She then moved to the University of Cincinnati where her emphasis was involved with genetic manipulation of Histoplasma capsulatum and the fungal-host interaction in an animal model.

In 2004, Dr. Donovan was given an opportunity to begin a residency in internal medicine and later completed an infectious disease fellowship with a focus on tropical medicine. That experience and her years as a practicing infectious diseases physician gave her a unique appreciation and understanding of the attention to detail required of a research scientist and the challenge treating patients with opportunistic fungal infections. Her greatest challenges are treating severely neutropenic patients and those with HIV/AIDS.

Returning to her roots at the Valley fever Center for Excellence, Dr. Donovan proposes to evaluate her observation that an earlier diagnosis of coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever) can reduce both unnecessary tests and treatments, thereby reducing morbidity and mortality. Additional benefits would include but not be limited to improving antibiotic stewardship, developing population management programs, and serving as a model to address other opportunistic infections.


  • MD: Shiraz University School of Medicine ? Shiraz, Iran, 1983-1991
  • Post Graduate Research: Department of Biochemistry, Gifu University School of Medicine, Gifu, Japan, 1993-1997
  • PhD: Department of Dermatology, Gifu University School of Medicine, Gifu, Japan, 1993-1997
Honors and Awards
JSID International Scholarship, Kao Award, Tokyo, Japan, 1996
Graduate Scholarship for Graduate Course, Ministry of Education and Science, Japan, 1993-1997
Research Fellowship Scholarship, Ministry of Education and Science, Japan, 1992-1993
Internal Medicine: Tehran University Hospital, Department of Dermatology, Tehran, Iran, 1991-1992
Family Practice: Bethesda Family Practice, 2004-2005
Internal Medicine: Good Samaritan Hospital, 2005-2008
Dermatology: Gifu University School of Medicine, Gifu, Japan, 1992-1993
Infectious Diseases: University of South Florida, Tampa, 2008-2010