Pioneering Women in UAB Biology: Dr. Vithal Ghanta

In 1986, Dr. Vithal Ghanta joined the Department of Biology as an Associate Professor, making her the department’s first female tenured faculty member. In 1989, she was promoted to full professor. Dr. Ghanta has spent the past 33 years advancing the department’s research and teaching.

First Female Tenured Faculty Member

In 1986, Dr. Vithal Ghanta joined the Department of Biology as an Associate Professor, making her the department’s first female tenured faculty member. In 1989, she was promoted to full professor. Dr. Ghanta has spent the past 33 years advancing the department’s research and teaching.

Prior to joining the Department of Biology, Dr. Ghanta worked in the Department of Microbiology for 15 years as a postdoctoral fellow and an Assistant Professor researching immunology and cancer in mouse models. Over the span of her career, Dr. Ghanta’s research has primarily focused on tumor immunology, the immunology of aging, and regulation of the immune system by the central nervous system. Several years ago, she ceased her research efforts to focus on teaching.

Since her early days in the department, Dr. Ghanta has been a staple in our classrooms, teaching courses such as Immunology, Biology of Aging, and Evolutionary Medicine. She is known and beloved by many students, going above and beyond to help them grow—not just as students, but as people. One student says, “Dr. Ghanta is a fantastic professor. She consistently makes herself available for questions and goes out of her way to ensure students understand the material if they approach her. She has definitely become one of my favorite teachers at UAB.”

After almost 50 years at UAB and more than 30 years in the Department of Biology, Dr. Ghanta reflects back on her career with affection. She has cherished her time at UAB and says she is appreciative to have worked in a unified department with colleagues who were always supportive, respectful, friendly, and caring. Outside of work, Dr. Ghanta can be found tending to her garden and spending time with her husband of 43 years, Dr. Subbarao Vadlamudi.

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