The Anna Durbin Lab evaluates experimental vaccines through human clinical trials. We have conducted both pediatric and adult clinical trials on vaccines for HIV, hepatitis C, HPV, influenza, malaria, dengue virus, rotavirus and other viruses. We also have a longstanding interest in better understanding the immunologic factors of dengue infection and disease. We’re working to identify the viral, host and immunologic factors that cause severe dengue illness.
The long-term goal of the Caren L. Freel Meyers Laboratory is to develop novel approaches to kill human pathogens, including bacterial pathogens and malaria parasites, with the ultimate objective of developing potential therapeutic agents.
Toward this goal, we are pursuing studies of bacterial isoprenoid biosynthetic enzymes comprising the methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway essential in many human pathogens. Studies focus on understanding mechanism and regulation in the pathway toward the development of selective inhibitors of isoprenoid biosynthesis. Our strategies for creating new anti-infective agents involve interdisciplinary research in the continuum of organic, biological and medicinal chemistry. Molecular biology, protein expression and biochemistry, and synthetic chemistry are key tools for our research.
The Christopher Potter Lab functions at an intersection between systems and cellular neuroscience. We are interested in how neurons and circuits function in the brain to achieve a common goal (olfaction), but we also develop, utilize and build tools (molecular and genetic) that allow us to directly alter neuronal functions in a living organism. The specific focus of my laboratory is to understand how the insect brain receives, interprets, and responds to odors. Insects rely on their sense of smell for all major life choices, from foraging to mating, from choosing where to lay eggs to avoiding predators and dangers. We are interested in understanding at the neuronal level how odors regulate these behaviors. Our long-term aim is to apply this knowledge to better control insects that pose a threat to human health. Our general approach towards achieving this goal is to develop and employ new genetic methods that enable unprecedented control over neural circuits in both the model organism D...rosophila melanogaster and human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae.view more
Research in the David Sack Lab focuses on enteric infections. Our team has worked to develop laboratory detection methods to better understand the epidemiology of these agents. We also work to create appropriate clinical management strategies, such as antibiotics and rehydration methods, for enteric infections. Our work has included participating in the development of vaccines for a range of bacterial infections, including rotavirus, cholera and enterotoxigenic E. coli.
Research in the David Sullivan Lab focuses on malaria, including its diagnosis, treatment, molecular biology as it relates to iron, and pathology as it relates to severe anemia. We test and develop new malaria diagnostics — from real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to novel urine and saliva detection platforms. This includes the adaptation of immuno-PCR (antibody coupled to DNA for PCR detection) to malaria and a lead blood stage drug that contains a quinine derivative used to treat malaria in the 1930s.
The Ernesto Freire Lab studies the use of novel drugs to treat disease. Our research has resulted in the development of a thermodynamic platform for drug discovery and optimization. Our aim is to achieve high binding affinity and selectivity as well as appropriate pharmacokinetics with the platform. We are currently focusing on drug targets such as HIV/-1 protease inhibitors (HIV/AIDS), plasmepsin inhibitors (malaria), HCV protease inhibitors (hepatitis C), coronavirus 3CL-pro protease inhibitors (SARS and other viral infections), HIV-1 gp120 inhibitors (HIV/AIDS), chymase inhibitors (cardiovascular disease) and beta lactamase inhibitors (antibiotic resistance).
Research in the Michael Matunis Lab focuses on the SUMO family of small ubiquitin-related proteins. We study the covalent conjugation of SUMOs to other cellular proteins, which regulates numerous processes needed for cell growth and differentiation, and which, when defective, can lead to conditions such as cancer, neurodegenerative disease and diabetes.
Work in the Peter Agre Lab focuses on the molecular makeup of human diseases, particularly malaria, hemolytic anemias and blood group antigens. In 2003, Dr. Agre earned the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering aquaporin water channels. Building on that discovery, our recent research has included studies on the protective role of the brain water channel AQP4 in murine cerebral malaria, as well as defective urinary-concentrating ability as a result of a complete deficiency in aquaporin-1. We also collaborate on scientific training and research efforts with 20 Baltimore-area labs and in field studies in Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Research in the Photini Sinnis Lab explores the fundamental biology of the pre-erythrocytic stages of malaria. Our team is focused on the sporozoite stage of Plasmodium, which is the infective stage of the malaria parasite, and the liver stages into which they develop. We use classic biochemistry, mutational analysis, and in vitro and in vivo assays to better understand the molecular interactions between the parasite and its mosquito and mammalian hosts. Our goal is to translate our findings to help develop treatments and a vaccine that target the malaria parasite.
Current research in the Sean T. Prigge Lab explores the biochemical pathways found in the apicoplast, an essential organelle found in malaria parasites, using a combination of cell biology and genetic, biophysical and biochemical techniques. We are particularly focused on the pathways used for the biosynthesis and modification of fatty acids and associated enzyme cofactors, including pantothenate, lipoic acid, biotin and iron-sulfur clusters. We want to better understand how the cofactors are acquired and used, and whether they are essential for the growth of blood-stage malaria parasites.
The Theresa Shapiro Laboratory studies antiparasitic chemotherapy. On a molecular basis, we are interested in understanding the mechanism of action for existing antiparasitic agents, and in identifying vulnerable metabolic targets for much-needed, new, antiparasitic chemotherapy. Clinically, our studies are directed toward an evaluation, in humans, of the efficacy, pharmacokinetics, metabolism and safety of experimental antiparasitic drugs.