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About Malaria

 

Research

Diagnosis  

  • David Sullivan in collaboration with Peter Scholl and Applied Physics Laboratory investigators, are using hemozoin as a sensitive biomarker for laser desorption-MS detection of Plasmodium infection in both mice and humans.
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Drug Development

  • Drug resistance is a major problem in the treatment of malaria and Ernesto Freire's laboratory is working on the development of new strategies in which drug molecules are conferred with adaptive properties that allow them to maintain efficacy in the face of naturally existing polymorphisms and mutations associated with drug resistance.
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Epidemiology

  • Clive Shiff has been a strong proponent of the Macha Research facility because of our need to maintain focused on the disease and its epidemiology. This work also includes the study of the mosquito vectors as they constitute the source of infection and play a key role in the spread of this disease.
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Immunology/Vaccine Development

  • George Dimopoulos and his group are targeting parasite/vector interactions, with a particular interest in mechanisms of the mosquito's immune system implicated in killing parasites.
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Molecular Parasitology/Cell Biology

  • Peter Agre and his group are studying channel proteins in malaria-causing parasites. By studying mosquito aquaporins, the roles of water homeostasis in vector physiology and parasite transmission will be explored. Another major project is to investigate the functions of several aquaporin proteins in cerebral malaria.
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  • Photini Sinnis and her group are focused on understanding the fundamental biology of the pre-erythrocytic stages of malaria.  This includes sporozoites and the liver stages into which they develop.  This is an understudied yet critically important area of investigation as this is when malaria infection is established in the mammalian host.  
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    Pathogenesis/Clinical Studies
  • Fidel Zavala's work is using the Plasmodium yoelii system in mice to understand the nature of immune response to malaria infection.
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    Structural Biology
  • Jürgen Bosch and his team are exploring the structures of malarial proteins related to host-cell invasion and egress as well as to processes involved in the conversion of liver stage sporozoites into blood stage merozoites. The Bosch lab's ultimate goal is to apply structure guided drug design methods to identify small molecule inhibitors of the protein-protein interactions involved in these processes.
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Vector Biology

  • Environmental control is the focus of Douglas Norris and his laboratory colleagues. The group is using molecular population genetics to investigate the structure of mosquito populations, with the goal of understanding the flow of resistance to insecticides or parasite infection from one population to the next.
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