Mosquito Immunity and Vector Competence Section
Dr. Barillas-Mury investigates the interactions between Plasmodium parasites, the gut microbiota, and the mosquito immune system to understand how they affect malaria transmission. She studies epithelial immunity, hemocyte differentiation, immune memory and the immune pathways that mediate antiplasmodial responses in the mosquito, and how Plasmodium; evades these mosquito defense responses. Her ultimate goal is to identify new targets to disrupt malaria transmission and prevent human disease.
Pathogenesis and Immunity Section
Dr. Duffy conducts human and animal studies of malaria pathogenesis and host immunity, including population-based studies in African communities exposed to Plasmodium falciparum, and controlled human infection studies. His natural history studies emphasize mechanisms of immunopathogenesis in pregnant women and children, as well as community-wide studies of malaria transmission, with large collaborative cohort studies in progress in Mali and elsewhere. His controlled human infection studies at the Clinical Center and in the field seek to understand immunity against preerythrocytic parasites and to model parasite transmission to mosquitoes. He directs the intramural malaria vaccine program at NIAID, which leads the world in clinical development of transmission-blocking vaccines, studies whole sporozoite vaccines in humans, and is designing vaccine candidates against placental malaria and severe childhood malaria.
Malaria Genetics Section
Dr. Wellems focuses on the determinants of drug resistance, immune evasion, and disease virulence in malaria. Areas of study include the antimalarial drug resistance and factors that affect clinical outcome after treatment, malaria protection conferred by human hemoglobinopathies and other red cell polymorphisms, antigenic variation by Plasmodium falciparum parasites, and molecular mechanisms of malaria parasite infectivity and pathogenesis. Research activities on the NIH campus are integrated with field studies in Africa and Southeast Asia.
Lymphocyte Activation Section
Dr. Pierce works to understand the cellular mechanisms underlying the generation, maintenance, and activation of B cell immunological memory. These studies are focused on the acquisition and maintenance of memory in response to antigens of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, in response to vaccination in the United States and to natural infection in Africa.