Fariba Donovan, MD, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Medicine
  • Assistant Professor, Valley Fever Center for Excellence

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 in 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 in 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 (VFCE), 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.

Research Interests: 

As both a practicing physician and a research scientist, Dr. Donovan has long cultivated a particular interest in medical mycology. Her research focuses on the identification of virulence factors and the interaction of several fungi with the human host. Her goal is to identify and characterize regulatory mechanisms at a post-transcriptional level that have a crucial role in the development of Valley Fever in humans.

  • 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
  • Tehran University Hospital, Department of Dermatology, Tehran, Iran, 1991 - 1992
  • Bethesda Family Practice, Family Practice, 2004 - 2005
  • Good Samaritan Hospital, Internal Medicine, 2005 - 2008
  • Gifu University School of Medicine, Dermatology, Gifu, Japan, 1992 - 1993
  • University of South Florida, Infectious Diseases, 2008 -2010

Select Publications


Donovan, F. M., P. Wightman, Y. Zong, L. Gabe, A. Majeed, T. Ynosencio, E. J. Bedrick, and J. N. Galgiani, "Delays in Coccidioidomycosis Diagnosis and Associated Healthcare Utilization, Tucson, Arizona, USA.", Emerg Infect Dis, vol. 25, issue 9, pp. 1745-1747, 2019 09. PMCID: PMC6711243  PMID: 31441755
Bardwell, J., J. August, S. Farran, C. Florita, F. Donovan, and T. T. Zangeneh, "Infection of Aortic Endograft Caused by Coccidioidomycosis.", Am J Med, 2019 Jul 25. PMID: 31351044


Donovan, F. M., T. T. Zangeneh, J. Malo, and J. N. Galgiani, "Top Questions in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Coccidioidomycosis.", Open Forum Infect Dis, vol. 4, issue 4, pp. ofx197, 2017 Fall. PMCID: PMC5903411  PMID: 29670928


Mirbod-Donovan, F., R. Schaller, C-Y. Hung, J. Xue, U. Reichard, and G. T. Cole, "Urease produced by Coccidioides posadasii contributes to the virulence of this respiratory pathogen.", Infect Immun, vol. 74, issue 1, pp. 504-15, 2006 Jan. PMCID: PMC1346605  PMID: 16369007