Valentin A. Pavlov, PhD

Professor, Center for Biomedical Science and Bioelectronic Medicine,
The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine,
Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell

Phone: (516) 562-2316

About the Investigator

Valentin A. Pavlov, PhD, is a professor at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. He is also professor at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. Dr Pavlov did his undergraduate work at the University of Sofia “St Kliment Ohridski” in Sofia, Bulgaria. He received his PhD in Physiology, Pathophysiology and Pharmacology from the same university in 1994, working on the metabolism of polyamines. Dr Pavlov was awarded a Royal Society and NATO postdoctoral fellowship in 1999, to work on the anticancer properties of novel polyamine analogues at the School of Life Sciences, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland (UK).

In 2002, Dr. Pavlov joined the research group of Dr. Kevin Tracey at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and began his studies on the neural regulation of immunity and inflammation and the therapeutic implications of this regulation.

  • Dr. Pavlov has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters and has been a co-inventor of two patents and two patent applications. He has been a symposium organizer and an invited speaker at major scientific forums in the US, Europe, South America and Japan, including North American Neuromodulation Society Meeting, BioScience, Digestive Disease Week, FASEB Research Conferences, European Shock Society Congress, International Society for Autonomic Neuroscience Meeting, and World Congress of the International Union of Physiological Sciences.
  • Dr. Pavlov is a member of European Association for Cancer Research, American Shock Society, Society for Neuroscience, International Brain Research Organization, American Association of Immunologists, and is on the executive committee of the International Society for Autonomic Neuroscience. He is on the editorial board of Frontiers in Immunology (Inflammation) and Journal of Neuroinflammation, and serves as executive editor of Bioelectronic Medicine and Molecular Medicine. Dr. Pavlov has also served as a grant reviewer for NIH, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (UK), Association for International Cancer Research, The Broad Foundation, Dutch Digestive Foundation, Neurological Foundation of New Zealand, Canada Research Chairs Program, and French National Research Agency.
Research Focus

Dr Pavlov’s research focuses on the role of the nervous system in the regulation of inflammation. Inflammation is a normal and important response to infection and injury. Inflammation is localized and temporary and upon its resolution, immune and physiological homeostasis is restored. However, disrupted immune regulation can result in excessive or chronic inflammation with deleterious consequences. This state underlies the pathogenesis of sepsis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and other inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. Understanding endogenous mechanisms that regulate immune function and inflammation is critical for the development of novel therapeutic strategies to prevent or neutralize excessive inflammatory responses. Studies led by Kevin Tracey at the Feinstein Institute have revealed that bidirectional communication between the immune system and the brain is vital for controlling inflammation. The vagus nerve and peripheral, alpha7 nicotinic receptor-mediated signaling play an important role in this communication and are key components of a physiological mechanism – the inflammatory reflex.

Dr Pavlov’s research has led to the discovery that brain cholinergic signaling plays an important role in the neural control of immune function and inflammation. This brain regulation is  functionally associated with the inflammatory reflex and can be activated by cholinergic compounds such as galantamine and other centrally-acting acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. Some of these compounds are clinically approved for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. This is important because previous clinical experience and knowledge about the safety profile of these compounds would facilitate “repurposing” of these drugs for the treatment of inflammatory conditions. The chronic inflammatory state in obesity and the metabolic syndrome is causally linked with insulin resistance and the epidemic of type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. Dr Pavlov’s work has revealed that the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor galantamine alleviates inflammation, insulin resistance and fatty liver disease in a preclinical model of diet-induced obesity and the metabolic syndrome. A recent placebo-controlled clinical trial performed via an international collaboration between The Feinstein Institute and the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, led by Dr Pavlov and Dr Fernanda Consolim-Colombo demonstrated the efficacy of galantamine in alleviating inflammation and insulin resistance in patients with the metabolic syndrome.

Dr Pavlov’s current NIH funded research uses state-of-the-art methodology to provide insights into the role of the brain and the vagus nerve in the regulation of immune and metabolic responses in preclinical models of sepsis. This research also explores possibilities of direct modulation of brain neurocircuits for therapeutic benefit in preclinical settings of inflammatory conditions. In addition to pharmacological interventions, current findings indicate that these circuits can be achieved using device-generated neuromodulation, thus suggesting new therapeutic approaches in Bioelectronic Medicine.

Collaboration is critically important in performing interdisciplinary research with the goal to translate preclinical research findings in treatments of diseases. Dr. Pavlov has had the privilege to collaborate with Kevin Tracey and members of Tracey’s lab, Yousef Al-Abed, Peter Davies, Betty Diamond, Christine Metz, Kaie Ojamaa, Ed Miller, Marc Symons, Clifford Deutschman, Ping Wang, Meggan Mackay, Martin Lesser, Jesse Roth, and many other fine scientists in and outside the Feinstein Institute.

Lab Members

Tea Tsaava, MD
Research Scientist
Phone: (516) 562-2312

Meghan Dancho, BSc
Research Assistant
Phone: (516) 562-2313

Matthew Tanzi, BA
Research Assistant
Phone: (516) 562-2105


University of Sofia “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Sofia, Bulgaria
Degree: BSc
Field of Study: Molecular Biology

University of Sofia “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Sofia, Bulgaria
Degree: MSc
Field of Study: Physiology

University of Sofia “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Sofia, Bulgaria
Degree: PhD
Field of Study: Physiology, Pathophysiology and Pharmacology

School of Life Sciences (formerly School of Applied Sciences), The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland (UK)
Degree: Postdoctoral Fellow
Field of Study: Molecular Biology and Cancer Research

Awards & Honors

2016 Excellence in Research Award, Northwell Health
2014 Keynote Address at the First World Congress on Mechanisms of Action: Electrical Stimulation of the Nervous System, Orlando, FL
2011 First Place Award for Basic Science Presentation (senior author) at the Northwell Health Academic Competition
2005 Northwell Health Institute for Medical Research Competitive Faculty Award
1999 Royal Society and NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship Award
1995 Bulgarian Ministry of Education Science and Technology Young Investigator Research Grant Award
1993 Israel-Bulgaria Education and Research Exchange Program Research Scholarship Award

  1. Pavlov VA, Chavan SS, Tracey KJ (2018) Molecular and functional neuroscience in immunity. Annu Rev Immunol, Apr 26;36:783-812. doi: 10.1146/annurev-immunol-042617-053158
  2. Consolim-Colombo FM, Sangaleti CT, Costa FO, Morais TL, Lopes HF, Motta JM, Irigoyen MC, Bortoloto LA, Rochitte CE, Harris YT, Satapathy SK, Olofsson PS, Akerman M, Chavan SS, MacKay M, Barnaby D, Lesser M, Roth J, Tracey KJ, Pavlov VA (2017) Galantamine alleviates inflammation and insulin resistance in patients with the metabolic syndrome in a randomized trial. JCI Insight, Jul 20;2(14). pii: 93340
  3. Zaghloul N, Addorisio M, Silverman HS, Patel HL, Valdes Ferrer SI, Ayasolla KR, Ghanem MH, Lehner KR, Olofsson PS, Nasim M, Metz CN, Ahmed M, Wang P, Chavan SS, Diamond B, Tracey KJ, Pavlov VA (2017) Forebrain cholinergic dysfunction and systemic and focal brain inflammation in murine sepsis survivors. Front Immunol, Dec 15;8:1673, doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.01673. eCollection
  4. Pavlov VA, Tracey KJ. (2017) Neural regulation of immunity: molecular mechanisms and clinical translation. Nat Neurosci, 20(2):156-166
  5. Rosas-Ballina M, Valdes-Ferrer SI, Dancho ME, Ochani M, Katz D, Cheng KF, Olofsson PS, Chavan SS, Al-Abed Y, Tracey KJ, Pavlov VA. (2015) Xanomeline suppresses excessive pro-inflammatory cytokine responses through neural signal-mediated pathways and improves survival in lethal inflammation. Brain Behav Immun, 44:19-27 (See relevant commentary at
  6. Pavlov VA and Tracey KJ (2012) The vagus nerve and the inflammatory reflex-linking immunity and metabolism Nat Rev Endo, 8(12):743-54
  7. Rosas-Ballina M, Olofsson PS, Ochani M, Valdés-Ferrer SI, Levine YA, Reardon C, Tusche MW,Pavlov VA, Andersson U, Chavan S, Mak TW, Tracey KJ.(2011) Acetylcholine-synthesizing T cells relay neural signals in a vagus nerve circuit. Science, 334(6052):98-101
  8. Satapathy SK, Ochani M, Dancho M, Hudson LK, Rosas-Ballina M, Valdes-Ferrer SI, Olofsson PS, Harris YT, Roth J, Chavan S, Tracey KJ, Pavlov VA (2011) Galantamine alleviates inflammation and other obesity-associated complications in high-fat diet-fed mice. Mol Med, 17(7-8):599-606
  9. Parrish WR, Rosas-Ballina M, Puerta M, Ochani M, Ochani K, Hudson LQ, Johnson S, Czura C, Miller E, Al-Abed, Y, Tracey KJ, and Pavlov VA (2008) Modulation of TNF release by choline requires alpha7 nicotinic subunit acetylcholine receptor signaling. Mol Med, 14(9-10), 567-574
  10. Pavlov VA, Ochani M, Gallowistch-Puerta M, Ochani K, Huston J, Czura CJ, Al-Abed Y and Tracey KJ (2006) Central muscarinic cholinergic regulation of the systemic inflammatory response during endotoxemia. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA, 103(13), 5219-23

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Post Doc Research Trainee for the Center for Biomedical Science and Bioelectronic Medicine. The post-doc will perform preclinical research focused on brain mechanisms regulating inflammation in sepsis and other diseases.

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