Malaria continues to have a devastating impact on global human health, and greater than 40% of the world’s population is at risk. Annually, there are an estimated 216 million cases and 655,000 deaths due to malaria, predominantly in developing countries. Disease is caused by any of five protozoan parasites. Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax account for the majority of malaria cases. No vaccines are currently approved to prevent malaria, and treatment relies predominantly on the use of antimalarial drugs. However, resistance to the very limited set of efficacious drugs is rising rapidly. Therefore, identifying new therapeutic targets is a high priority.
Our goal is to establish, through technological innovations, new avenues to discovering fundamental parasite biology that can be translated into much-needed diagnostic, preventative and therapeutic solutions. Ongoing research projects in the lab address:
- Tool development for regulating gene expression;
- Heme metabolism in malarial parasites; and
- Host-pathogen interactions in Plasmodium falciparum.