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.


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
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

A220A Life Sciences Building