Malaria Transmission Biology
Our research has led to the discovery of a mosquito-based malaria transmission-blocking vaccine (TBV) candidate (the AnAPN1 TBV), which has recently completed process development studies and is under consideration for First-In-Human trials in the near future. We were the first to provide proof of concept demonstrations of the potential utility of mosquito based TBVs to control both human malaria parasite species (P. falciparum and P. vivax) in diverse anopheline vector species across the globe. Our multi-OMICS strategy perspective has also led to the discovery of a novel small molecule with potent malaria transmission-blocking properties, the identification of the Plasmodium protein target that is blocked by this small molecule, the completion of the P. falciparum life cycle in vitro (liver stages), a novel saliva-based rapid diagnostic test for malaria, and new insight into vector host-parasite interactions during oocyst development, to name a few. To support the discovery and translational research pipeline, we are also developing novel, single dose drug and vaccine delivery methods that are appropriate for malaria endemic countries in the developing world. TEAM MALARIA is composed of 4 postdoctoral associates, 1 PhD student, the lab manager, Center Program Coordinator, and a lateral flow chemist. One postdoc and PhD student also serves as a bridge with TEAM ARBO.
[Pictured: Anopheles gambiae midgut infected with P. falciparum oocysts that have burst open to release thousands of sporozoites]