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David Joseph Sullivan, Jr, M.D.

Photo of Dr. David Joseph Sullivan, Jr, M.D.
  • Joint Appointment in Medicine


Infectious Disease

Research Interests

Molecular microbiology; Immunology; Plasmodium; Malaria; Iron; Copper; Zinc transport; Hemozoin; Metal heme crystal; Chemotherapy; Drug discovery; Diagnosis; Placental malaria; Cerebral malaria; FDA drug library more

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The Johns Hopkins Hospital (Main Entrance)

Appointment Phone: 410-955-1725
1800 Orleans St.
Sheikh Zayed Tower
Baltimore, MD 21287 map


Dr. David Sullivan is a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health. His research focuses on malaria diagnosis, drugs, molecular biology related to iron, and pathology related to severe anemia.

Dr. Sullivan’s team is currently engaged in testing and developing new methods of diagnosing malaria.

He earned his M.D. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His work has been recognized with awards from several organizations, including the BIALL Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences. more


  • Joint Appointment in Medicine

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • MD, University of Alabama at Birmingham (1988)


  • Barnes-Jewish Hospital / Occupational Medicine (1991)


  • Barnes-Jewish Hospital / Infectious Diseases (1997)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Internal Medicine / Infectious Disease (1994)

Research & Publications


Dr. Sullivan’s lab continues to test and develop novel malaria diagnostics, from real-time PCR to new urine or saliva detection platforms. These platforms now include the adaptation of immuno-PCR (antibody coupled to DNA for PCR detection) to malaria. One lead blood stage drug includes a derivative of quinine used to treat malaria in hundreds of humans in the 1930s. They are screening the FDA-approved compound library to explore liver stage drug activity. They are also characterizing how host iron and parasite compartments modulate drug sensitivity and liver and gametocyte biology. The Plasmodium hemolysin homologue (a protein which pokes holes in red blood cells) is being characterized as a factor contributing to severe anemia. The Mapping Malaria Epidemiology in Bangladesh project is characterizing the malaria risk factors from among human-Hemoglobin E, parasite-drug resistance, mosquito-larval habitats and environmental determinants for malaria transmission in two communities with a population of 20,000 people.

Selected Publications

Akter J, Thriemer K, Khan WA, Sullivan DJ Jr, Noedl H, Haque R. "Genotyping of Plasmodium falciparum using antigenic polymorphic markers and to study anti-malarial drug resistance markers in malaria endemic areas of Bangladesh." Malar J. 2012 Nov 22;11:386. doi: 10.1186/1475-2875-11-386.

Alam MS, Chakma S, Khan WA, Glass GE, Mohon AN, Elahi R, Norris LC, Podder MP, Ahmed S, Haque R, Sack DA, Sullivan DJ Jr, Norris DE. "Diversity of anopheline species and their Plasmodium infection status in rural Bandarban, Bangladesh." Parasit Vectors. 2012 Jul 27;5:150. doi: 10.1186/1756-3305-5-150.

Avril M, Tripathi AK, Brazier AJ, Andisi C, Janes JH, Soma VL, Sullivan DJ Jr, Bull PC, Stins MF, Smith JD. "A restricted subset of var genes mediates adherence of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes to brain endothelial cells." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jun 26;109(26):E1782-90. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1120534109. Epub 2012 May 22.

Brown T, Smith LS, Oo EK, Shawng K, Lee TJ, Sullivan D, Beyrer C, Richards AK. "Molecular surveillance for drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in clinical and subclinical populations from three border regions of Burma/Myanmar: cross-sectional data and a systematic review of resistance studies." Malar J. 2012 Sep 19;11:333. doi: 10.1186/1475-2875-11-333.

Ferrer P, Tripathi AK, Clark MA, Hand CC, Rienhoff HY Jr, Sullivan DJ Jr. "Antimalarial iron chelator, FBS0701, shows asexual and gametocyte Plasmodium falciparum activity and single oral dose cure in a murine malaria model." PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e37171. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0037171. Epub 2012 May 21.

Jacobine AM, Mazzone JR, Slack RD, Tripathi AK, Sullivan DJ, Posner GH. "Malaria-infected mice live until at least day 30 after a new artemisinin-derived thioacetal thiocarbonate combined with mefloquine are administered together in a single, low, oral dose." J Med Chem. 2012 Sep 13;55(17):7892-9. doi: 10.1021/jm3009986. Epub 2012 Aug 27.

Jaenisch T, Sazawal S, Dutta A, Deb S, Ramsan M, Sullivan DJ. "Contributions of polyclonal malaria, gametocytemia, and pneumonia to infant severe anemia incidence in malaria hyperendemic Pemba, Tanzania." Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2012 Jun;86(6):925-30. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.2012.11-0164.

Slack RD, Mott BT, Woodard LE, Tripathi A, Sullivan D, Nenortas E, Girdwood SC, Shapiro TA, Posner GH. "Malaria-infected mice are completely cured by one 6 mg/kg oral dose of a new monomeric trioxane sulfide combined with mefloquine." J Med Chem. 2012 Jan 12;55(1):291-6. doi: 10.1021/jm201214d. Epub 2011 Dec 15. Erratum in: J Med Chem. 2012 Feb 23;55(4):1788.

Sullivan DJ. "Plasmodium drug targets outside the genetic control of the parasite." Curr Pharm Des. 2013;19(2):282-9. Review.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Courses and Syllabi

  • Vector-Borne Diseases in the Tropics (223.684.11)
    2015 - 2016
  • Tropical Medicine and Parasitology (223.660.13)
    2015 - 2016
  • Biology of Parasitism (260.635.01)
    2015 - 2016
  • Malariology (260.656.01)
    2015 - 2016
  • Malariology (260.656.81)
    2015 - 2016
  • Public Health Biology (550.630.81)
    2015 - 2016

Activities & Honors


  • BIAL Award, BIAL Foundation, 2010
  • Pew Scholars Award in Biomedical Sciences, The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2000 - 2004
  • Burroughs Wellcome Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, 1997 - 2000
  • New Investigator Matching Award, National Foundation of Infectious Diseases (NFID), 1999
  • Burroughs Wellcome Leadership Award A.M.A., Burroughs Wellcome Fund, 1994
  • MAP Readers Digest International Fellowship, (Mussoorie, India), 1988
  • Class Citizenship Award (The Netter Series) for Community Service, 1988

Patient Ratings & Comments

The Patient Rating score is an average of all responses to physician related questions on the national CG-CAHPS Medical Practice patient experience survey through Press Ganey. Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best score. Comments are also gathered from our CG-CAHPS Medical Practice Survey through Press Ganey and displayed in their entirety. Patients are de-identified for confidentiality and patient privacy.

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