In honor of Dr. Norman Willett

Monday,  June 19, 2017

Manuel Llinas, PhD
Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Pennsylvania State University
State College, PA

“Tackling Malaria: New Insights into an Ancient Problem”

Malaria remains one of the most devastating diseases of humankind, affecting nearly one in ten people worldwide and resulting in one to two million deaths annually. While the past century has seen significant progress in anti-malarial drug development, many of these drugs are currently losing efficacy due to the rise of drug resistant P. falciparumstrains. The challenge now is to identify and characterize novel targets for anti-malarial strategies. The questions being addressed in my lab predominantly center on the red blood cell stage of parasite development, which is the stage in which all of the clinical manifestations of the malaria disease occur. My research has focused on two major areas: the role of transcriptional regulation in orchestrating parasite development, and an in-depth characterization of the malaria parasite’s unique metabolic network. On the transcription side, my lab is dedicated to the characterization of the first family of DNA binding proteins to be identified in the P. falciparum genome, the Apicomplexan AP2 (ApiAP2) proteins. ApiAP2 proteins are considered the major transcriptional regulators of malaria parasite development at all stages of the lifecycle. Our metabolomics work has recently begun to identify unique biochemical pathway architectures in the parasite. We are now exploiting our metabolomics approaches to investigate the mode of action of anti-malarial drugs through signature metabolite profiling.

Dr. Llinás is Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Pennsylvania State University.  He received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley followed by postdoctoral work at UC San Francisco. In 2005 he joined the faculty at Princeton University in the Department of Molecular Biology where he was a member of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics. Since 2013 he has been on the faculty at Penn State where he is co-Director of the Center for Malaria Research and a member of the Center Infectious Disease Dynamics. Dr. Llinás’ laboratory studies the deadliest of the four human malaria parasites, Plasmodium falciparum. His research combines tools from functional genomics, molecular parasitology, computational biology, and biochemistry to understand the fundamental molecular mechanisms underlying blood stage development in malaria parasites. The ultimate purpose of his work is to better define malaria parasite biology with the goal of identifying novel therapies against this global human affliction.

Reception: 5pm
Lecture:  6pm
Blumle Life Sciences Building Room 105/107
Thomas Jefferson University
233 South 10th Street (10th and Locust)
Philadelphia, PA 

(parking at the garage under Hamilton Bldg,  entrance on 11th Street and Locust)

For more information, contact:  Bobi McHale (