Senior Scholar Award in Global Infectious Disease
Pradipsinh K. Rathod, Ph.D.
University of Washington

Genomic tools to characterize hypermutating Plasmodium falciparum.

Malaria kills 1-2 million people every year and causes illness in several 100 million individuals. The hunt for new drugs and vaccines must be complimented with a thorough understanding of how parasites mutate to evade therapeutic measures.

Some clones of the human malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum may acquire drug resistance at extraordinary rates. Such clones are useful tools for understanding the enzymology underlying inducible mutagenesis in malaria populations. The present project will develop functional genomic protocols to identify mutated loci in freshly selected drug resistant parasites and molecular tools to capture relevant proteins involved in mutagenesis.

Understanding the Plasmodium hypermutation machinery is expected to influence judicious use of drug combinations for malaria chemotherapy. The machinery may itself be an attractive target of future drug cocktails.

Contact Dr. Rathod.