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Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute


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About Malaria



David Sullivan
Academic Degrees
MD, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1988
Departmental Affiliation
Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
Departmental Address
615 North Wolfe St, Room E5628
Baltimore, MD 21205
Phone: 410-502-2522
Fax: 410-955-0105
Research and Professional Experience

Malaria is a “stealer of dreams” for most of Africa, which bears the brunt of more than 80% morbidity and mortality from this protozoan disease. I treated my first malaria patient as an intern at Washington University in 1988 and have been focused on this pathogen since that time.

Our group focuses on malaria diagnosis, drugs, molecular biology related to iron and pathology related to severe anemia. The lab continues to test and develop novel malaria diagnostics from real-time PCR to new urine or saliva detection platforms. These platforms now include the adaptation of immuno-PCR (antibody coupled to DNA for PCR detection) to malaria. One lead blood stage drug includes a derivative of quinine used to treat malaria in hundreds of humans in the 1930’s. Our lab is screening the FDA approved compound library to explore liver stage drug activity. The lab is also characterizing how host iron and parasite compartments modulate drug sensitivity and liver and gametocyte biology. The Plasmodium hemolysin homologue (a protein which pokes holes in red blood cells) is being characterized as a factor contributing to severe anemia. The Mapping Malaria Epidemiology in Bangladesh project is characterizing the malaria risk factors from among human-Hemoglobin E, parasite-drug resistance, mosquito-larval habitats and environmental determinants for malaria transmission in two communities with a population of 20,000 people.


  • Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
  • Plasmodium
  • malaria
  • iron
  • copper,
  • zinc transport
  • hemozoin
  • metal heme crystal
  • chemotherapy
  • drug discovery
  • diagnosis
  • placental malaria
  • cerebral malaria
  • FDA drug library

Honors and Awards

Class Citizenship Award (The Netter Series) for Community Service (1988)

MAP Readers Digest International Fellowship (1988, Mussoorie, India)

Burroughs Wellcome Leadership Award A.M.A. (1994)

National Foundation of Infectious Diseases (NFID) New Investigator Matching Award 1999

Burroughs Wellcome Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences 1997-2000

Pew Scholars Award in Biomedical Sciences 2000-2004

2011 The Bial Award 2010 DISTINCTION for “New uses for the old drugs”

Selected Publications

Malaria Publications 2012

Akter, J., K. Thriemer, W.A. Khan, D.J. Sullivan, Jr., H. Noedl, and R. Haque. 2012. Genotyping of Plasmodium falciparum using antigenic polymorphic markers and to study anti-malarial drug resistance markers in malaria endemic areas of Bangladesh. Malaria Journal, 11: p. 386.PMID:23173674

Alam, M.S., S. Chakma, W.A. Khan, G.E. Glass, A.N. Mohon, R. Elahi, L.C. Norris, M.P. Podder, S. Ahmed, R. Haque, D.A. Sack, D.J. Sullivan, Jr., and D.E. Norris. 2012. Diversity of anopheline species and their Plasmodium infection status in rural Bandarban, Bangladesh. Parasites & Vectors, 5: p. 150.PMID:22839212

Avril, M., A.K. Tripathi, A.J. Brazier, C. Andisi, J.H. Janes, V.L. Soma, D.J. Sullivan, Jr., P.C. Bull, M.F. Stins, and J.D. Smith. 2012.  A restricted subset of var genes mediates adherence of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes to brain endothelial cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(26): p. E1782-90.PMID:22619321

Brown, T., L.S. Smith, E.K. Oo, K. Shawng, T.J. Lee, D. Sullivan, C. Beyrer, and A.K. Richards. 2012. Molecular surveillance for drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in clinical and subclinical populations from three border regions of Burma/Myanmar: cross-sectional data and a systematic review of resistance studies. Malaria Journal, 11: p. 333.PMID:22992214

Ferrer, P., A.K. Tripathi, M.A. Clark, C.C. Hand, H.Y. Rienhoff, Jr., and D.J. Sullivan, Jr.  2012. Antimalarial iron chelator, FBS0701, shows asexual and gametocyte Plasmodium falciparum activity and single oral dose cure in a murine malaria model. PloS One, 7(5): p. e37171.PMID:22629364

Jacobine, A.M., J.R. Mazzone, R.D. Slack, A.K. Tripathi, D.J. Sullivan, and G.H. Posner.  2012. Malaria-infected mice live until at least day 30 after a new artemisinin-derived thioacetal thiocarbonate combined with mefloquine are administered together in a single, low, oral dose. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2012. 55(17): p. 7892-9.PMID:22891714

Jaenisch, T., S. Sazawal, A. Dutta, S. Deb, M. Ramsan, and D.J. Sullivan. 2012. Contributions of polyclonal malaria, gametocytemia, and pneumonia to infant severe anemia incidence in malaria hyperendemic Pemba, Tanzania. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 86(6): p. 925-30.PMID:22665595

Slack, R.D., B.T. Mott, L.E. Woodard, A. Tripathi, D. Sullivan, E. Nenortas, S.C. Girdwood, T.A. 2012. Shapiro, and G.H. Posner, Malaria-infected mice are completely cured by one 6 mg/kg oral dose of a new monomeric trioxane sulfide combined with mefloquine. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2012. 55(1): p. 291-6.PMID:22128829

Sullivan, D.J.  2012. Plasmodium Drug Targets outside the Genetic Control of the Parasite. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 2012.PMID:22973888

Malaria Publications 2011

Alam, M.S., A.N. Mohon, S. Mustafa, W.A. Khan, N. Islam, M.J. Karim, H. Khanum, D.J. Sullivan, Jr., and R. Haque. 2011. Real-time PCR assay and rapid diagnostic tests for the diagnosis of clinically suspected malaria patients in Bangladesh. Malar J, 10: p. 175.PMID:21703009

Khan, W.A., D.A. Sack, S. Ahmed, C.S. Prue, M.S. Alam, R. Haque, J. Khyang, M. Ram, J. Akter, M.M. Nyunt, D. Norris, G. Glass, T. Shields, M.Z. Haq, A. Cravioto, and D.J. Sullivan, Jr. 2011. Mapping hypoendemic, seasonal malaria in rural Bandarban, Bangladesh: a prospective surveillance. Malar J, 10: p. 124.PMID:21569599

Mharakurwa, S., T. Kumwenda, M.A. Mkulama, M. Musapa, S. Chishimba, C.J. Shiff, D.J. Sullivan, P.E. Thuma, K. Liu, and P. Agre. 2011. Malaria antifolate resistance with contrasting Plasmodium falciparum dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) polymorphisms in humans and Anopheles mosquitoes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 108(46): p. 18796-801.PMID:22065788

Moon, D.K., A. Tripathi, D. Sullivan, M.A. Siegler, S. Parkin, and G.H. Posner, 2011. A single, low, oral dose of a 5-carbon-linked trioxane dimer orthoester plus mefloquine cures malaria-infected mice. Bioorg Med Chem Lett, 21(9): p. 2773-5.PMID:20952197

Portugal, S., C. Carret, M. Recker, A.E. Armitage, L.A. Goncalves, S. Epiphanio, D. Sullivan, C. Roy, C.I. Newbold, H. Drakesmith, and M.M. Mota. 2011. Host-mediated regulation of superinfection in malaria. Nat Med, 17(6): p. 732-7.PMID:21572427

Schachterle, S., G. Mtove, J. Levens, E.G. Clemens, L. Shi, A. Raj, B. Munoz, M.E. Reller, S. West, J.S. Dumler, and D. Sullivan. 2011. Prevalence and Density Related Concordance Of Three Diagnostic Tests for Malaria In Hypoendemic Tanzania. J Clin Microbiol, PMID:21880972

Shiff, C., P. Thuma, D. Sullivan, and S. Mharakurwa. 2011. Designing a sustainable strategy for malaria control? Malar J, 10: p. 220.PMID:21812949

Sullivan, D.J., Jr., N. Kaludov, and M.N. Martinov. 2011.  Discovery of potent, novel, non-toxic anti-malarial compounds via quantum modelling, virtual screening and in vitro experimental validation. Malar J, 10(1): p. 274.PMID:21933377

Jaenisch, T., Sazawal, S., Dutta A, Deb S, Ramsan M, Sullivan, D. Polyclonal malaria, gametocytemia and pneumonia contribute to infant severe anemia incidence in malaria hyperendemic Pemba, Tanzania Am J Trop Med Hyg Accepted Dec 15, 2011 AJTMH-11-0164.R1

Non-malaria Publications 2011

Galiwango, R.M., S.L. Lamers, A.D. Redd, J. Manucci, A.A. Tobian, N. Sewankambo, G. Kigozi, G. Nakigozi, D. Serwadda, I. Boaz, F. Nalugoda, D.J. Sullivan, X. Kong, M.J. Wawer, R.H. Gray, T.C. Quinn, and O. Laeyendecker On Behalf Of The Rakai Health Sciences Program. 2011. HIV Type 1 Genetic Variation in Foreskin and Blood from Subjects in Rakai, Uganda. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses, PMID:21902587

Poropatich, K. and D.J. Sullivan, Jr., 2011. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 long-term non-progressors: the viral, genetic and immunological basis for disease non-progression. J Gen Virol, 92(Pt 2): p. 247-68.PMID:21106806

Reller, M.E., E.G. Clemens, S.E. Schachterle, G.A. Mtove, D.J. Sullivan, and J.S. Dumler. 2011.  Multiplex 5' nuclease-quantitative PCR for diagnosis of relapsing Fever in a large tanzanian cohort. J Clin Microbiol, 49(9): p. 3245-9.PMID:21775542


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