Madhavan Nair received his Ph.D. from Tata Memorial Cancer Center, Bombay University, India in Cancer Immunology and trained at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City. He then joined the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and subsequently worked at the Department of Medicine and Microbiology at SUNY, Buffalo, NY as a Tenured Professor and Director of Research in Allergy and Immunology. He is a certified Clinical Nutrition Specialist (CNS), Fellow of American College of Nutrition (FACN) and Fellow of American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (FAAAI).
Nair and his colleagues discovered the suppressor factor in cancer serum (1978) and first reported that intravenous drug users manifest low natural killer cell activity (1986) and morphine induces apoptosis of normal lymphocytes (1997). In 1988, Dr Nair reported for the first time (PNAS) that HIV recombinant purified gene products possess significant biological activities. His original discovery that cocaine increases the sensitivity to HIV infection by increasing the HIV co-receptors and methamphetamine exacerbates the HIV replication in dendritic cells had a profound effect on the role of these drugs on HIV disease progression. His recent research mainly involves the role of different drugs of abuses such as alcohol, morphine, cocaine and methamphetamine on neuro-AIDS and therapeutic approach to control Neuro-AIDS by specific drug targeting to brain using nanotechnology.
Nair is the first FIU researcher to earn a prestigious MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health recognizing outstanding competence and productivity in research (2008-2018). Nair is also the recipient of University of Michigan Distinguished Research Scientist Award (1990), Exceptional Research Scholar Award from State University of New York (2005), Excellence in Faculty Scholarship Award from FIU (2008) and Presidential Leadership Operational Excellence Award from FIU in 2009.
Nair has published more than 100 papers as first and/or senior author, mentored more than 50 undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral fellows, high school and minority students, served in various committees, organized various national and international conferences, chaired number of scientific sessions and served in various NIH study sections committees as chair/ member since 1980. His research is currently supported with four major NIH grants.