Donald E. Champagne, Ph.D.
Donald Champagne, associate professor of entomology at the University of Georgia, completed his Ph.D. in biology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, followed by postdoctoral work at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Champagne came to the department of entomology at University of Georgia in 1996 as an assistant professor, and subsequently was invited to join the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases. His current research is focused on interactions between arthropod vectors (mainly mosquitoes, but also black flies, triatomine bugs, and ticks) and their vertebrate hosts. In particular, Champagne studies components of vector saliva that modulate defensive responses in the vertebrate host, including hemostatic and immune responses. More information.
Mary R. Galinski, Ph.D.
Mary Galinski has over 25 years of experience studying malaria parasites from different experimental vantage points, with the most recent 15 years as a Professor of Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Global Health at Emory University. Prior to joining Emory, she conducted malaria research as a student and member of the faculty at New York University Medical Center in the Department of Medical and Molecular Parasitology. Galinski built the malaria research team at Emory University, with affiliations that include the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory Vaccine Center and the Emory Institute for Drug Discovery. She has a longstanding interest in the bigger picture from a scientific and advocacy perspective, which also led her in 1992 to found the Malaria Foundation International. In 2006, Galinski co-founded the International Center of Malaria Research Education and Development (ICMRED) at Emory, and now the MaHPIC (Malaria Host-Pathogen Interaction Center). Together, these efforts support her main interests – to study malaria in-depth, help devise solutions, and inform and educate the public. Her interests span from basic malaria research and epidemiology, to the development of vaccines and drugs to prevent or treat malaria. Relevant to the MaHPIC, she is especially interested in how Plasmodium parasites invade, remodel and thrive within host cells, and cause disease. More information.
Juan B. Gutierrez, Ph.D.
Juan Gutierrez is assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Georgia. His research lab specializes in mathematical models of ecological systems across multiple scales ranging from cellular interactions in immune systems, through continental scales in the study of species dispersal. The tools used in these diverse studies are the same: dynamical systems of finite dimensions (ordinary differential equations, discrete difference equations, agent-based models) or infinite dimensions (partial differential equations, delay equations). Gutierrez is currently funded by NIH NIAID’s International Centers of Excellence in Malaria Research (ICEMR, global-scale epidemiology) and the Malaria Host-Pathogen Interaction Center (MaHPIC, within-host dynamics). In these two large projects, his lab produces data management tools, analytical methods, and computational models for the study of malaria.
S. Patrick Kachur, MD, MPH, FACPM
S. Patrick Kachur is a medical epidemiologist and chief of CDC’s Malaria Branch. He trained at Kent State University, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital, and Johns Hopkins University. Since 1995, he has conducted field research and provided technical assistance to malaria control programs in Africa and around the world. He has coauthored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and has received multiple awards from the US Public Health Service, where he is a commissioned officer. More information.
Jessica C. Kissinger, Ph.D.
Jessica Kissinger, professor, department of genetics, earned her Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from Indiana University in 1995. She worked on the evolution and origin of human malaria as an NSF/Sloan postdoctoral researcher at NIH from 1995-1996, and as a CNPq Fellow at the Centro de Pesquisas René Rachou – FIOCRUZ in Brazil from 1996-1998. From 1998-2002, she switched to a related parasite,Toxoplasma gondii and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania with David S. Roos. She moved to the University of Georgia in 2002, and in 2004, she received a Young Investigator award from the International Congress on Toxoplasmosis for her work on horizontal gene transfer in the apicomplexan nuclear genome. In 2009, she received the Creative Research Medal from the University of Georgia. Kissinger also is director of the Institute of Bioinformatics at the University of Georgia. Her research focuses on evolutionary genomics of parasites, systems biology of malaria and data integration. More information.
Julie M. Moore, Ph.D.
Julie Moore, professor of infectious diseases, has been interested in malaria since she participated in a semester abroad program in Kenya as an undergraduate. Her research over the past 18 years has focused on two aspects of the interaction between the malaria parasite and the pregnant mammalian host: how the host’s immune response protects both mother and fetus against malaria infection, and how the host’s immune response, if overactive, damages the placenta and fetus. Moore has worked in Kenya studying these problems in directly affected populations both as a post-doctoral fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and as a member of the faculty of UGA’s department of infectious diseases and the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases. In addition to field studies, her research program also incorporates studies in a mouse model her group has developed as well as studies of placental cell responses to malaria.
Vasant Muralidharan, Ph.D.
Vasant Muralidharan, assistant professor of cellular biology, has extensive training in protein chemistry, structural biology, parasite culturing, parasite biochemistry and genetics. Muralidharan has been trained in biological research at several world-class institutions including University of Mumbai, The Rockefeller University and Washington University, St. Louis. His lab at the University of Georgia focuses on understanding the roles of chaperones in the biology of the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Muralidharan and his team are developing chemical biology-based tools to study gene function in the parasite. More information.
Simon O. Owino, Ph.D.
Simon Owino earned his bachelor’s of science in chemistry and zoology as well as his master’s degree in cell and molecular biology at Maseno University, Kenya. Owino received his doctorate in infectious diseases at the University of Georgia. He has studied human placental malaria extensively, focusing on interactions between the parasite Plasmodium falciparum and host syncytiotrophoblast development. While in Africa, Owino established strong community ties critical to his work with malaria. The goal of his current research at Pathens, Inc. is to develop an efficacious Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) vaccine. Owino is engineering a multivalent TB vaccine and evaluating it in an animal model.
David S. Peterson, Ph.D.
David Peterson received his bachelor’s of science in biochemistry from University of California, Davis and his doctorate from University of California, Irvine. Peterson is associate professor in the department of infectious diseases and a member of the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, one of the largest parasitology research groups in the country. He has over 25 years of experience in malaria research dating from his postdoctoral work at NIH, where he first worked on parasite resistance to antimalarial drugs, and later on the var gene family, encoding the major variant antigen of malaria. His primary research interests are in host/malarial parasite interactions as mediated by members of the var gene family, with his current focus being on the role of one particular family member, var2csa, in placental malaria. Currently his laboratory is characterizing var2csa both at the functional level via protein studies and by examining the genetic complexity of placental infections via both standard-cloning techniques and via deep sequencing strategies to better understand how host immune pressure selects for diversity in parasite antigens. More information.
Venkatachalam Udhayakumar “Kumar”, Ph.D.
Venkatachalam Udhayakumar received his bachelor’s of science in zoology, botany and chemistry from University of Madras, India. He also received his master’s and doctorate in immunology at Madurai-Kamaraj University, India. He is currently chief of the Genetics and Immunology Laboratory, Malaria Branch, Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Udhayakumar leads a team of scientists engaged in conducting infectious disease and public health research and program activities focusing on malaria. This includes molecular studies to understand the origins and spread of drug resistant parasites, genetic diversity of malaria parasites, development of novel field usable diagnostic tools, molecular barcoding of malaria parasites, host genetic factors and susceptibility to malaria, biology of transmission reduction, immunological aspects of malaria and pathogenesis of malaria. The research studies are conducted in collaboration with partners from several African, Asian and South American countries. He and his team actively support laboratory training to scientists and staff from collaborating partners in various countries while providing support for malaria program activities both nationally and internationally.