M. Belen Cassera


Our research focuses on discovery and development of anti-parasitic drugs, as well as on understanding their mechanism(s) of action and resistance. At present, we focus on malaria, a vector-born infectious disease caused by parasites of the genus Plasmodium that kills over 400,000 people every year, mainly children under 5 years old. We use multidisciplinary and cutting-edge approaches in biochemistry, medicinal chemistry, cell biology, and molecular biology with the overarching goal of developing safer therapeutics.

Recent Publications

  • Jin-Hai Yu, Hua Zhang, Bin Zhou, Flavia M. Zimbres, Seema Dalal, Qun-Fang Liu, Maria B. Cassera, and Jian-Min Yue. Limonoids From Cipadessa baccifera. J Nat Prod. 2020 May 29. doi: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.9b00666.
  • You Ah Kim, Abdul Latif, Chang-Suk Kong, Youngwan Seo, Seema R Dalal, Maria B Cassera, David G I Kingston. Antimalarial Diterpenoids From Vitex Rotundifolia: Isolation, Structure Elucidation, and in Vitro Antiplasmodial Activity. Bioorg Chem. 2020 May 12;100:103925. doi: 10.1016/j.bioorg.2020.103925.
  • Yongle Du, Brooke A. Martin, Ana Lisa Valenciano, Jason A. Clement, Michael Goetz, Maria B. Cassera, David G. I. Kingston. Galtonosides A-E: Antiproliferative and Antiplasmodial Cholestane Glycosides from Galtonia regalis. J Nat Prod. 2020 Mar 31. doi: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.9b01064.
  • Yongle Du, Ana Lisa Valenciano, Yumin Dai, Yi Zheng, Feng Zhang, Yan Zhang, Jason Clement, Michael Goetz, David G. I. Kingston, Maria B. Cassera. Anibamine and Its Analogues: Potent Antiplasmodial Agents from Aniba citrifolia. 2019. J Nat Prod. doi: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.9b00724.
  • Ana Lisa Valenciano, Maria L. Fernández-Murga, Emilio F. Merino, Nicole R. Holderman, Grant J. Butschek, Karl J. Shaffer, Peter C. Tyler & Maria Belen Cassera. Metabolic dependency of chorismate in Plasmodium falciparum suggests an alternative source for the ubiquinone biosynthesis precursor. 2019. Sci Rep.;9(1):13936. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-50319-5.
  • Jeong H, Latif A, Kong CS, Seo Y, Lee YJ, Dalal SR, Cassera MB, Kingston DGI. Isolation and characterization of antiplasmodial constituents from the marine sponge Coscinoderma sp. Z Naturforsch C. 2019 Aug 6. 74(11-12):313-318. doi: 10.1515/znc-2019-0039.


All the pieces matter: UGA researchers collaborate to solve malaria puzzle

Reagan Haney named 2022 ARCS Scholar

Researchers to test drug candidates to treat malaria

Cassera named summer 2021 Innovation Fellow

Belen Cassera named parasitology section editor for Current Clinical Microbiology Reports

Belen Cassera Featured on People, Parasites and Plagues Podcast

Researchers received $2M NIH instrumentation grant

Trainee Spotlight: Josh Butler

Visiting Scholar: Elvis Ofori Ameyaw

The Cure for Malaria Could be in Your Backyard

Drug discovery researchers awarded grant to refine malaria drug

M. Belen Cassera
M. Belen Cassera
Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

A220A Life Sciences Building