Department of Pediatrics, Herman B. Wells Center for Pediatric Research, Ryan White Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Global Health
Modulating the severity of malaria via gut microbiota
My research has investigated various aspects of the host immune response to Plasmodium, the parasite responsible for causing malaria, including how host-gut microbe interactions impact the severity of malaria. This research has demonstrated that an exceedingly large immune response is required to eliminate the parasite during the initial liver-stage of infection, which has altered approaches to develop a vaccine that targets this stage of the parasite life cycle. Our recent efforts to understand how gut microbiota impact the severity of malaria raises the hope of developing gut microbiota-based therapeutics to prevent children from dying from this infectious disease. These latter studies have required cross disciplinary approaches integrating infectious disease, immunology, microbiome, and bioinformatics research along with utilizing murine models of malaria and conducting field research in malaria endemic areas of Africa.