Faculty

Course Directors:

burleighBarbara Burleigh, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
Barbara Burleigh, Ph.D. is a Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Her work on Trypanosoma cruzi, the protozoan parasite that causes human Chagas disease, addresses fundamental questions regarding the mechanistic basis of host cell colonization by this obligate intracellular pathogen with a focus on the permissive roles of host cell signaling and metabolism in this process. Barbara has been involved in the BoP course since 2000 as an invited lecturer and as an experimental module head. This is her second year as co-director for the BoP course.

Flaminia CatterucciaFlaminia Catteruccia, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
Flaminia Catteruccia is Professor at the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases in the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. She has made fundamental contributions to the field of mosquito research in the area of mating behavior and reproductive biology in the Anopheles mosquitoes that vector human malaria. She is now studying the molecular and physiological interactions between the Anopheles vector and the Plasmodium malaria parasite both in the laboratory and in field settings. She has also opened up a new avenue of study in terms of within-host symbiotic interactions that affect malaria transmission. Her research plan integrates basic molecular biology investigations with highimpact translational studies. She has been a module director at BoP for the past 5 years and is one of the current course directors.

sinnisPhotini Sinnis, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Photini Sinnis is a Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Deputy Director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Institute. Her laboratory studies the earliest stages of the malaria infection: The inoculation of sporozoites by infected mosquitoes and the significant physical and immunological obstacles that must be overcome for the parasite to establish infection in the mammalian host. Her work has contributed significantly to our understanding of sporozoite biology and the functional role(s) of the sporozoite’s major surface protein. In addition to her love of science, she is passionate about mentoring young scientists.

2019 Module Directors:

Vernon CarruthersVernon Carruthers, University of Michigan
Intracellular parasites benefit from the rich resources available inside an infected cell, but they also face the challenges of invading such cells, developing conduits to mine nutrients, and departing their niche on cue. Some intracellular parasites have also mastered the art of persistence for transmission or reemergence later in infection. After helping to define extracellular survival tactics of African trypanosomes during graduate (Western University, with the infamous Barbara Burleigh) and postdoctoral studies (Rockefeller University), I became fascinated by the distinctive intracellular lifestyles of apicomplexan parasites including Toxoplasma gondii. As a Research Associate at Washington University I identified a calcium dependent signaling pathway dictates Toxoplasma invasion. Since then our work at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Michigan has helped define how Toxoplasma uses adhesive proteins to actively invade target cells and showed that its hybrid exo-endocytic system supports both protein secretion and ingestion of host derived material. We also identified the basis for Toxoplasma cytolytic egress from infected cells, defined the parasite’s use of autophagy as a survival strategy during persistence, and we are developing inhibitors targeting a parasite lysosomal protease to interrupt chronic infection. Understanding these processes more deeply will better define the elaborate mechanisms intracellular parasite use to infect their hosts.

kamhawi_pictureShaden Kamhawi, National Institutes of Health
Dr. Kamhawi is currently a Core Associate Scientist at the Laboratory of Malaria and Vector research at NIAID, NIH. She is interested in exploring various facets of disease vectors focusing on sand flies that transmit Leishmania parasites by bite. Some of her research interests and relevant publications include: the development of Leishmania in the gut of vector sand flies (Kamhawi et al, Cell, 2004; Kelly et al., mBio, 2016; Serafim, et al., Nat Microbiology, 2018); establishment of the first models of pathogenesis following transmission of Leishmania to an experimental animal (Kamhawi, et al, Science, 2000; Peters, et al, Science 2008; Aslan, et al, J Infect Dis, 2016); characterizing a number of sand fly-derived factors that influence the host immune response at the site of the sand fly bite (Atayde et al, Cell reports, 2015; Dey et al., Host Cell & Microbe, 2018); establishing the nature of the immune response to sand fly salivary proteins and exploring their potential as Leishmania vaccines (Gomes et al., PNAS, 2008; Oliveira et al., PLOS NTD, 2008; Gomes et al., J Invest Dermatol, 2012; Oliveira et al, Sci Transl Med, 2015).

LevashinaElena Levashina, Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology
Dr. Elena Levashina received her Ph.D. in Plant Genetics from the University of St. Petersburg, Russia. Her education background includes studies on Drosophila immunity at the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology (IBMC), Strasbourg, France, and on mosquito immunity at the EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany. She is currently leading the Vector Biology Unit at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, Germany. Her work has contributed greatly to the understanding of mosquito immune responses to malaria parasites and other pathogens. Currently, the Vector Biology Unit combines molecular, cellular, organismal, population biology and mathematical approaches to disentangle complex interactions that ultimately make a mosquito such a formidable vector of malaria.

lodoen_photoMelissa Lodoen, University of California, Irvine
A major goal of Dr. Lodoen’s research program is to define the cellular and molecular pathways that activate the innate immune response during infection. In particular, her research examines the role of monocytes and macrophages in host defense and inflammation during infection with Toxoplasma gondii. One area of research focuses on identifying the mechanisms by which primary human monocytes and macrophages produce and regulate IL-1 during T. gondii infection. In a second area of research, her lab is investigating the role of monocytes in pathogen dissemination and host defense at the blood-brain barrier during T. gondii infection of the CNS.

meera_nairMeera Nair, University of California, Riverside
Meera Nair is an Assistant Professor at the University of California Riverside School of Medicine, where her lab researches the immune response to helminth parasites. Meera’s fascination for “all things helminths” began in her early years of training at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where she completed her PhD on macrophage function in filarial nematode infection. Meera then pursued her postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania where she discovered the important contribution of a new family of secreted proteins – the Resistin-like molecules (RELM) – in balancing the protective vs pathogenic effects of the immune response to hookworms. Around this period, Meera was recruited to the BOP family as a teaching assistant, and continued on as a BOP lecturer. Meera’s lab at UCR employs in vivo mouse models and clinical samples to address three main research questions: 1. How do macrophages contribute to immunity and inflammation? 2. What is the functional significance of RELM proteins in helminth infection? 3. Are endocannabinoids a new mechanism of host-helminth communication?

alex_bopAlex Paredez, University of Washington
Alex Paredez is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Washington in Seattle. His laboratory studies the parasite Giardia which stands out as one of the most evolutionary divergent eukaryotes (from animals) that can be manipulated in the laboratory. His laboratory studies Giardia’s divergent actin cytoskeleton and differentiation into infectious cysts. The unifying goal of this work is to uncover constraining principles of biology as well as differences from host biology that can be leveraged for therapeutic development.

sean_priggeSean Prigge, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
I was trained as a structural biologist studying the atomic level interactions that allow enzymes to make their products. After a four year stint at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, I became fascinated with the unusual biology of malaria parasites and began to ask questions about the enzymes and metabolic pathways in these organisms. I am particularly interested in aspects of parasite metabolism that rely on nutrients from the host. In my laboratory, we study these nutrients, how they are acquired, how they are used, and whether they are essential for the growth of blood stage or liver stage malaria parasites. We approach these questions with a combination of cell biology, genetic, biophysical and biochemical techniques. Ultimately, we want to understand how to interfere with these vulnerable aspects of parasite metabolism.

jayne-raperJayne Raper, Hunter College
Dr. Raper is a principle investigator in the Department of Biological Sciences in Hunter College at the City University of New York. She is currently managing a program project (NSF/Gates) to generate transgenic cows that will be resistant to all forms of African trypanosomes, a eukaryotic single celled parasite. This will allow the small holder farmer to raise cattle in the tsetse fly belt in Sub-Saharan Africa, and potentially eliminate a reservoir of human-infective parasites. Variants of the transgene, apolipoprotien L, are prevalent in African-Americans that are linked to chronic kidney disease. Pore formation by apolipoprotein L1 in plasma membranes is key to the mechanism of killing the African parasites as well as driving kidney disease. She joined the CUNY faculty in 2011. Prior to joining CUNY she was an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology at New York University School of Medicine where she focused on the host-parasite interaction of African trypanosomes and primates. She also taught medical and graduate student courses and served on many NYU committees throughout her eighteen years at NYU. Dr. Raper conducted her postdoctoral research at the ICP, Brussels, Belgium and at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine on African trypanosomes. Dr. Raper earned her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Cambridge and her BSc degree in Biochemistry and Genetics from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, England.