Innate Immunity to Malaria

Malaria is a potentially fatal, mosquito-borne blood disease which is caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Relatively few studies to date have addressed the innate immune response to malaria infections, and very little is known about how P. falciparum causes inflammation. Better knowledge of innate immune responses to malaria may lead to the development of an effective malaria vaccine and improved management of its life-threatening complications. The key questions to be resolved are which plasmodial components are responsible for activating the innate immune response and which receptors are engaged and are responsible for inflammation.

In this webinar, Dr. Kalantari will discuss the following:

  • A short introduction and background on malaria
  • Plasmodium components that trigger immune responses (including hemozoin)
  • Host receptors that are engaged and recognize malaria products
  • Hemozoin as a carrier of plasmodial DNA into phagolysosomes
  • Plasmodial DNA sensing by TLR9 and activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome

Dr. Parisa Kalantari, Post-doctoral associate at the University of Massachusetts Medical School

Dr. Parisa Kalantari received her doctorate in pathobiology from the Pennsylvania State University, and her master of science in biology from the University of Tehran. She is a post-doctoral associate in the laboratory of Dr. Douglas Golenbock at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Kalantari has a long-standing interest in inflammatory diseases of infectious etiology, and is currently working to uncover the role of innate immunity to malaria. Her research is focused on understanding which plasmodial components are responsible for activating the innate immune response, and which receptors are engaged and are responsible for inflammation.