Newsletter December 2021

Belen Cassera

Researchers to test drug candidates to treat malaria
Belen Cassera is co-leading a research team that will test two new drugs for the treatment of malaria. The team’s work will be funded by a $3.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. >> Read More >>

Chet Joyner and Dennis Kyle

UGA researchers developing new models for malaria drug development and testing

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Dan Colley

Outhouses, clean water key to fighting schistosomiasis in persistent hotspots

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Steve Maher

Researchers implement new tool to screen drugs for treating malaria relapses

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Benjamin Phipps

Trainee Spotlight: Benjamin Phipps
Benjamin Phipps is an NIH T32 trainee in Michael Strand‘s laboratory. >> Read More >>

Dan Colley teaching

As you plan your end-of-year giving, please consider giving to the Daniel G. Colley Training in Parasitology Fund. This fund provides international research opportunities to our trainees.

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New Project Funding

Collaboration program between the Center for Food Safety from UGA and the Institute of Sciences of the Benmerita Autonomous University of Puebla, (CFS-ICUAP) to protect the safety of fresh products
Partners of the Americas, Ynes Ortega

Culture of Plasmodium knowlesi-infected erythrocytes for diagnostics
Grifols Diagnostic Solutions, Inc., Chet Joyner

Optimization of antimalarials targeting multiple life stages of the parasite
Virginia Polytechnic Institute/NIH, M. Belen Cassera

Featured in the News
Dennis Kyle

Dennis Kyle is quoted in the Nexstar news article Brain-eating amoeba- Where are infections most common, and who is at risk?

Michael Strand

Mike Strand‘s recently published study is featured in this article at Growing America.

Jessica Kissinger

Jessica Kissinger is the guest on the podcast People, Parasites and Plagues episode 7: Petabytes of Problematic Pathogens. She also did a bonus mini-episode where she discusses her unconventional path to a successful and productive career in science. Find both episodes on your favorite podcast site.

Recent Publications


VEuPathDB: the eukaryotic pathogen, vector and host bioinformatics resource center.
Beatrice Amos, Cristina Aurrecoechea, Matthieu Barba, Ana Barreto, Evelina Y Basenko, Wojciech Bażant, Robert Belnap, Ann S Blevins, Ulrike Böhme, John Brestelli, Brian P Brunk, Mark Caddick, Danielle Callan, Lahcen Campbell, Mikkel B Christensen, George K Christophides, Kathryn Crouch, Kristina Davis, Jeremy DeBarry, Ryan Doherty, Yikun Duan, Michael Dunn, Dave Falke, Steve Fisher, Paul Flicek, Brett Fox, Bindu Gajria, Gloria I Giraldo-Calderón, Omar S Harb, Elizabeth Harper, Christiane Hertz-Fowler, Mark J Hickman, Connor Howington, Sufen Hu, Jay Humphrey, John Iodice, Andrew Jones, John Judkins, Sarah A Kelly, Jessica C Kissinger, Dae Kun Kwon, Kristopher Lamoureux, Daniel Lawson, Wei Li, Kallie Lies, Disha Lodha, Jamie Long, Robert M MacCallum, Gareth Maslen, Mary Ann McDowell, Jaroslaw Nabrzyski, David S Roos, Samuel S C Rund, Stephanie Wever Schulman, Achchuthan Shanmugasundram, Vasily Sitnik, Drew Spruill, David Starns, Christian J Stoeckert, Sheena Shah Tomko, Haiming Wang, Susanne Warrenfeltz, Robert Wieck, Paul A Wilkinson, Lin Xu, Jie Zheng. Nucleic Acids Research, 2021;, gkab929,

Long-read assembly and comparative evidence-based reanalysis of Cryptosporidium genome sequences reveals expanded transporter repertoire and duplication of entire chromosome ends including subtelomeric regions.
Rodrigo P Baptista, Yiran Li, Adam Sateriale, Karen L Brooks, Alan Tracey, Mandy J Sanders, Brendan R E Ansell, Aaron R Jex, Garrett W Cooper, Ethan D Smith, Rui Xiao, Jennifer E Dumaine, Peter Georgeson, Bernard Pope, Matthew Berriman, Boris Striepen, James A Cotton, Jessica C Kissinger. Genome Res. 2021 Nov 11;gr.275325.121. doi: 10.1101/gr.275325.121.

Congratulations, Trainees

Alona Botnar, Kyle Laboratory, completed her Ph.D. and has taken a position as a science consultant in Chicago, IL.

Logan Crowe, Docampo Laboratory, completed his post-doctoral training and is now an analytical development scientist at Aruna Bio in Athens, GA.

Miquel Chiurillo, Docampo Laboratory, completed his postdoctoral training and is now an associate research professor at the University of Cincinnati.

Emma Troth, Kyle Laboratory, completed her Ph.D. and is now a post-doctoral associate at Notre Dame University

Natasha Iyam-Perumal, Tarleton Laboratory, completed for Ph.D.

Moreno Docampo

Calcium signaling in intracellular protist parasites.
Roberto Docampo, Silvia Nj Moreno. Current Opinion in Microbiology 2021, 64:33–40.

Dan Colley

Unprotected water sources and low latrine coverage are contributing factors to persistent hotspots for schistosomiasis in western Kenya.
Musuva RM, Odiere MR, Mwinzi PNM, Omondi IO, Rawago FO, Matendechero SH, Kittur N, Campbell Jr CH, Colley DG. (2021) Unprotected water sources and low latrine coverage are contributing factors to persistent hotspots for schistosomiasis in western Kenya. PLoS ONE 16(9): e0253115.

Effect of preventive chemotherapy with praziquantel on schistosomiasis among school-aged children in sub-Saharan Africa: a spatiotemporal modelling study.
Christos Kokaliaris, Amadou Garba, Martin Matuska, Rachel N Bronzan, Daniel G Colley, Ameyo M Dorkenoo, Uwem F Ekpo, Fiona M Fleming, Michael D French, Achille Kabore, Jean B Mbonigaba, Nicholas Midzi, Pauline N M Mwinzi, Eliézer K N’Goran, Maria Rebollo Polo, Moussa Sacko, Louis-Albert Tchuem Tchuenté, Edridah M Tukahebwa, Pitchouna A Uvon, Guojing Yang, Lisa Wiesner, Yaobi Zhang, Jürg Utzinger, Penelope Vounatsou. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 2021,

Roberto Docampo, a leading researcher in the study of acidocalcisomes in trypanosomatids

Drug Target Validation of the Protein Kinase AEK1, Essential for Proliferation, Host Cell Invasion, and Intracellular Replication of the Human Pathogen Trypanosoma cruzi.
Miguel A Chiurillo, Bryan C Jensen, Roberto Docampo. Microbiol Spectr. 2021 Sep 29;e0073821. doi: 10.1128/Spectrum.00738-21.

The Histidine Ammonia Lyase of Trypanosoma cruzi Is Involved in Acidocalcisome Alkalinization and Is Essential for Survival under Starvation Conditions.
Brian S Mantilla, Cristina Azevedo, Paul W Denny, Adolfo Saiardi, Roberto Docampo. mBio. 2021 Nov 2;e0198121. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01981-21.


Expeditious recruitment of circulating memory CD8 T cells to the liver facilitates control of malaria.
Mitchell N Lefebvre, Fionna A Surette, Scott M Anthony, Rahul Vijay, Isaac J Jensen, Lecia L Pewe, Lisa S Hancox, Natalija Van Braeckel-Budimir, Stephanie van de Wall, Stina L Urban, Madison R Mix, Samarcith P Kurup, Vladimir P Badovinac, Noah S Butler, John T Harty. Cell Rep. 2021 Nov 2;37(5):109956. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109956.

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Probing the distinct chemosensitivity of Plasmodium vivax liver stage parasites and demonstration of 8-aminoquinoline radical cure activity in vitro.
Steven P. Maher, Amélie Vantaux, Victor Chaumeau, Adeline C. Y. Chua, Caitlin A. Cooper, Chiara Andolina, Julie Péneau, Mélanie Rouillier, Zaira Rizopoulos, Sivchheng Phal, Eakpor Piv, Chantrea Vong, Sreyvouch Phen, Chansophea Chhin, Baura Tat, Sivkeng Ouk, Bros Doeurk, Saorin Kim, Sangrawee Suriyakan, Praphan Kittiphanakun, Nana Akua Awuku, Amy J. Conway, Rays H. Y. Jiang, Bruce Russell, Pablo Bifani, Brice Campo, François Nosten, Benoît Witkowski & Dennis E. Kyle. Sci Rep 11, 19905 (2021).

The transcriptome of Balamuthia mandrillaris trophozoites for structure-guided drug design.
Isabelle Q Phan, Christopher A Rice, Justin Craig, Rooksana E Noorai, Jacquelyn R McDonald, Sandhya Subramanian, Logan Tillery, Lynn K Barrett, Vijay Shankar, James C Morris, Wesley C Van Voorhis, Dennis E Kyle, Peter J Myler. SSci Rep 1121664 (2021).

Diagnostic Characteristics of Lactate Dehydrogenase on a Multiplex Assay for Malaria Detection Including the Zoonotic Parasite Plasmodium knowlesi.
Becky Barney, Miguel Velasco, Caitlin Cooper, Andrew Rashid, Dennis Kyle, Robert Moon, Gonzalo Domingo, Ihn Kyung Jang. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2021 Nov 15;tpmd210532. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.21-0532


Control and elimination of lymphatic filariasis in Oceania: Prevalence, geographical distribution, mass drug administration, and surveillance in Samoa, 1998-2017.
Patricia M Graves, Hayley Joseph, Shaun P Coutts, Helen J Mayfield, Fuatai Maiava, Tile Ann Ah Leong-Lui, Palanitina Tupuimatagi Toelupe, Vailolo Toeaso Iosia, Siatua Loau, Paulo Pemita, Take Naseri, Robert Thomsen, Alvaro Berg Soto, Thomas R Burkot, Peter Wood, Wayne Melrose, Padmasiri Aratchige, Corinne Capuano, Sung Hye Kim, Masayo Ozaki, Aya Yajima, Patrick J Lammie, Eric Ottesen, Lepaitai Hansell, Rasul Baghirov, Colleen L Lau, Kazuyo Ichimori. Adv Parasitol. 2021;114:27-73. doi: 10.1016/bs.apar.2021.03.002

Diagnostics to support elimination of lymphatic filariasis-Development of two target product profiles.
Kimberly Y Won, Katherine Gass, Marco Biamonte, Daniel Argaw Dagne, Camilla Ducker, Christopher Hanna, Achim Hoerauf, Patrick J Lammie, Sammy M Njenga, Rahmah Noordin, Kapa D Ramaiah, Reda Ramzy, Ronaldo G Carvalho Scholte, Anthony W Solomon, Ashley A Souza, Jordan Tappero, Emily Toubali, Gary J Weil, Steven A Williams, Jonathan D King. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 15(11): e0009968.

Silvia Moreno

A plastid two-pore channel essential for inter-organelle communication and growth of Toxoplasma gondii.
Zhu-Hong Li, Thayer P King, Lawrence Ayong, Beejan Asady, Xinjiang Cai, Taufiq Rahman, Stephen A Vella, Isabelle Coppens, Sandip Patel, Silvia N J Moreno. Nat Commun 12, 5802 (2021).

Toxoplasma bradyzoites exhibit physiological plasticity of calcium and energy stores controlling motility and egress.
Yong Fu, Kevin M Brown, Nathaniel G Jones, Silvia Nj Moreno, L David Sibley. Elife. 2021 Dec 3;10:e73011. doi: 10.7554/eLife.73011.

Michael Strand

Evolutionary genomics of APSE: a tailed phage that lysogenically converts the bacterium Hamiltonella defensa into a heritable protective symbiont of aphids.
Bret M Boyd, Germain Chevignon, Vilas Patel, Kerry M Oliver, Michael R Strand.  Virol J 18219 (2021).

Identifying bracovirus and ichnovirus genes involved in virion morphogenesis.
Ange Lorenzi, Michael R Strand, Gaelen R Burke, Anne-Nathalie Volkoff. Curr Opin Insect Sci. 2021 Nov 25;S2214-5745(21)00127-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cois.2021.11.006.

University of Georgia Distinguished Research Professor, Department of Cellular Biology, and UGA Athletic Association Distinguished Professor in Biological Sciences

Application of SARS-CoV-2 serology to address public health priorities.
Sherman AC, Smith T, Zhu Y, Taibl K, Howard-Anderson J, Landay T, Pisanic N, Kleinhenz J, Simon TW, Espinoza D, Edupuganti N, Hammond S, Rouphael N, Shen H, Fairley JK, Edupuganti S, Cardona-Ospina JA, Rodriguez-Morales AJ, Premkumar L, Wrammert J, Tarleton R, Fridkin S, Heaney CD, Scherer EM and Collins MH (2021) Front. Public Health 9:744535. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.744535

Chet Joyner and Dennis Kyle

A Phenotypic Screen for the Liver Stages of Plasmodium vivax.
Steven P. Maher, Amélie Vantaux, Caitlin A. Cooper, Nathan M. Chasen, Wayne T. Cheng, Chester J. Joyner, Roman Manetsch, Benoît Witkowski, Dennis Kyle. 2021. Bio-Protocol. 11(23): DOI: 10.21769/BioProtoc.4253