Jessica Kissinger


I am interested in parasite genomics and the biology of genome evolution. How do genomes evolve? Can we trace gene order, identify and determine the fate of horizontally transferred genes (as well as any existing endogenous orthologs) and identify genes that are phylogenetically restricted? The answers to these questions are important because of the insight they provide into parasite biology and the identification of potential drug targets. My research focuses on, but is not limited to, Apicomplexan parasites. The Apicomplexa are ideal for phylogenomic studies for several reasons:

  • All of the estimated 5000 species of Apicomplexa are believed to be parasitic
  • The Apicomplexa have a rich evolutionary history that includes endosymbiotic events and extensive gene transfer
  • There are currently genome sequences available for more than a dozen species and hundreds of new genome and strain sequencing projects are underway in addition to numerous RNA-Seq, and ChIP-Seq projects for prominent members of this phylum including numerous Plasmodium species (the causative agent of malaria), Theileria, Babesia, Eimeria, Sarcocystis, Toxoplasma and Cryptosporidium.

Our approach is to apply molecular, computational and phylogenetic tools to the analysis of parasite genomes. Projects include the development of tools for data integration, data mining, comparative genomics and assessing the phylogenetic distribution of genes. We utilize standard molecular biology techniques as well as powerful high-performance computing approaches. I welcome students interested in working on the bench, at the computer, or both.

Grant Support

  • The Eukaryotic Pathogen Bioinformatics Resource Center
    NIH HHSN272200900038C (Co-PI – Kissinger) 10/01/2009 – 9/30/2014
  • Infectious Disease Genomics and Bioinformatics Training in Brazil
    NIH 2D43 TW007012 (PI – Kissinger) 9/26/2009 – 6/30/2014
  • Integrative Tools for Protozoan Parasite Research
    NIH R01 GM093132 (Co-PI – Kissinger) 4/1/2009 – 3/31/2013
  • Genome Sequence of the Apicomplexan Sarcocystis neurona
    USDA/CSREES 2009-65109-05918 (Co-PI – Kissinger) 9/1/2009 – 8/31/2012
  • TrypDB: A Bioinformatics Tool for Target Discovery Research on Trypanosomatid Parasites
    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 50097 (Co-PI – Kissinger) 11/1/2008 – 10/31/2011
  • Genome Evolution, Innovation and Adaptation in the Apicomplexa
    NIH R01 AI068908 (PI Kissinger) 2/1/2007 – 1/31/2011

Database and Software Projects

Selected Publications

  • Rui Wang, John A. Miller, Chaitanya Guttula, Eileen T. Kraemer, Maryam Panahiazar and Jessica Kissinger. Web Service Composition using Service Suggestions (Submitted)
  • Steve Fischer, Cristina Aurrecoechea, Brian P. Brunk, Xin Gao, Omar S. Harb, Eileen T. Kraemer, Cary Pennington, Charles Treatman, Jessica C. Kissinger, David S. Roos and Christian J. Stoeckert. The Strategies WDK: a graphical search interface and web development kit for functional genomics databases. (Submitted)
  • Enid T. McKinley, Mark W. Jackwood, Deborah A. Hilt, Jessica C. Kissinger, Andrew H. Paterson, Jon S. Robertson, Cornelia Lemke. Attenuated live vaccine usage affects accurate measures of virus diversity and evolutionary rates in avian coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus.
  • Jessica C Kissinger, Jeremy DeBarry and Segun Fatumo. The genomic landscape – How does Plasmodium compare to other apicomplexan species? (Book Chapter in: Comparative Genomics of Plasmodium Parasites Edited by: Carlton, Perkins and Deitsch, In Revision)
  • Jessica C Kissinger and Jeremy DeBarry. Genome cartography: charting the apicomplexan genome. Trends in Parasitology (Invited review, In Revision)
  • A. Demas, J. Oberstaller, J. DeBarry, N.W. Lucchi, G. Srinivasamoorthy, D. Sumari, A.M. Kabanywanyi, L. Villegas, A. A. Escalante, S.P. Kachur, J.W. Barnwell, D.S. Peterson, V. Udhayakumar, and J.C. Kissinger. Applied genomics: Data mining reveals species-specific malaria diagnostic targets more sensitive than 18S rRNA. (In Revision, J. Clinical Microbiology)
  • J. DeBarry and J.C. Kissinger. Jumbled Genomes: Missing Apicomplexan Synteny (In Revision, MBE)
  • C. Aurrecoechea, A. Barreto, J. Brestelli, B.P. Brunk, E. V. Caler, S. Fischer, B. Gajria, X. Gao, A. Gingle, G. Grant, O.S. Harb, M. Heiges, F. J. Iodice, J.C. Kissinger, E.T. Kraemer, W. Li, V. Nayak, C. Pennington, D.F. Pinney, D.S. Roos, C. Ross, G. Srinivasamoorthy, C.J. Stoeckert Jr., C. Treatman, H. Wang. AmoebaDB and MicrosporidiaDB: functional genomic resources for Amoebozoa and Microsporidia species. Nucleic Acids Research, 2010, 1–8 doi:10.1093/nar/gkq1006
  • J. E. Phillips, M. W. Jackwood, E. T. McKinley, S. W. Thor, D. A. Hilt, N. D. Acevedo1, S. M. Williams, J. C. Kissinger, A. H. Paterson, J. S. Robertson, C. Lemke. Changes in Nonstructural Protein 3 are Associated with Attenuation in Avian Coronavirus. (Submitted)
  • H. Wang, J. DeBarry, J. C. Kissinger SynView – Synteny Browser with GBrowse Integration. A Practical Guide to Bioinformatics Analysis 2010 iConcept Press Ltd.
  • S. J. Joseph, J. A. Fernandez-Robledo, M. J. Gardner, N.M. El-Sayed, C-H. Kuo, E. J. Schott, H. Wang, J. C. Kissinger and G. R. Vasta. The Alveolate Perkinsus marinus: Biological Insights from EST Gene Discovery BMC Genomics 2010, 11:228
  • M.W. Jackwood, T.O. Boynton, D.A. Hilt, E.T. McKinley, J.C. Kissinger, A.H. Paterson, J. Robertson, C. Lemke, A.W. McCall, S.M. Williams, J.W. Jackwood and L. Byrd. Emergence of a group 3 coronavirus through recombination. Virology 2010 Mar 1;398(1):98-108.
  • C. Aurrecoechea, J. Brestelli, B.P. Brunk, S. Fischer, B. Gajria, J. Gao, A. Gingle, G. Grant, O.S. Harb, M. Heiges, F. Innamorato, J. Iodice, J.C. Kissinger, E.T. Kraemer, W. Li, J.A. Miller, V. Nayak, C. Pennington, D.F. Pinney, D.S. Roos, C. Ross, G. Srinivasamoorthy, C.J. Stoeckert Jr., R. Thibodeau, C. Treatman, H. Wang. EuPathDB: a Portal to Eukaryotic Pathogen Databases. Nucleic Acids Research, 2010 Jan;38(Database issue):D415-9. Epub 2009 Nov 13
  • M. Aslett, C. Aurrecoechea, M. Berriman, J. Brestelli, B. P. Brunk, M. Carrington, D. P. Depledge, S. Fischer, B. Gajria, X. Gao, M. J. Gardner, A. Gingle, G. Grant, O. S. Harb, M. Heiges, C. Hertz-Fowler, R. Houston, F. Innamorato, J. Iodice, J. C. Kissinger, E. Kraemer, W. Li, F. Logan, J. A. Miller, S. Mitra, P. J. Myler, V. Nayak, C. Pennington, I. Phan, D. F. Pinney, G. Ramasamy, M. Rogers, D. S. Roos, C. Ross, D. Sivam, D. F. Smith, G. Srinivasamoorthy, C. J. Stoeckert Jr., S. Subramanian, R. Thibodeau, A. Tivey, C. Treatman, G. Velarde, H. Wang (2010) TriTrypDB: A Functional Genomic Resource for the Trypanosomatidae. Nucleic Acids Research, 2010 Jan;38(Database issue):D457-62. Epub 2009 Oct 20


Creating databases to help cure diseases worldwide

Jessica Kissinger elected as AAAS Fellow

Jessica Kissinger elected ASTMH Fellow

Sharing the Knowledge: NIH Award Supports Expanded Genomics Data Resource

Database offers tools for global health collaborations

Data boost: Using big data to fight disease

FungiDB: An Integrated Bioinformatic Resource for Fungi and Oomycetes

Open-access data resource aims to bolster collaboration in infectious disease research

Distinguished Research Professor 2017

UGA faculty and staff receive awards from the Office of International Education

Jessica Kissinger
Distinguished Research Professor, Department of Genetics; Institute of Bioinformatics
Ph.D. Indiana University, 1995

Lab Website