John H. Adams, PhD joined the University of South Florida College of Public Health Infectious Diseases Research program in June 2007 and previously was at the University of Notre Dame for 16 years. He was trained in basic parasitology (BA 1978, Hendrix College; PhD 1985, University of Illinois; 1986-87, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Queensland) and in molecular approaches to malaria at National Institutes of Health, 1987-1991. His research program studies malaria parasite biology with the expectation that a better understanding of Plasmodium biology will enable developing better ways to control malaria through vaccines, drugs and other prevention strategies.
Major areas of research:
Plasmodium vivax Duffy binding protein (DBP) vaccine: developing DBP as an effective vaccine is compromised by polymorphism within the receptor-binding site that leads to weak strain-specific immunity. Dr. Adams’ studies found that dominant B-cell epitopes of DBPII are polymorphic as an evasion mechanism diverting the immune response away from more conserved targets of neutralizing immunity. Our long-term goal is to optimize efficacy of DBPII as a broadly effective vaccine that elicits antibodies to strain-transcending neutralizing epitopes. Grant support from R01AI064478 (Co-PI: King, Tolia).
Enabling technologies for P. vivax research: Dr. Adams is leading the iBS research program to develop long-term continuous culture of P. vivax blood-stage. The project is part of the Gates Foundation Malaria Culture Consortium program and is working closely with Dr. Kyle, USF-Drpaer Laboratories and other groups to enable laboratory based mosquito transmission and liver stage research for P. vivax. Grant support from BMGF OPP#1023643 (Co-PI: Saadi, Sattabongkot, Schofield, Kaneko, Wellems, Obaldía).
Functional genomics of P. falciparum: a strategic hurdle for development of new anti-malarial therapeutics remains the lack of experimentally validated functional information about most P. falciparum genes. A better understanding of essential metabolic pathways and weaknesses in the parasite’s physiologic engine is critical for identification of new drug targets. The forward genetic screening project uses random piggyBac insertional mutagenesis as a tool to identify metabolic processes and pathways critical for parasite growth that may be used as targets of therapeutic interventions. Grant support from R01AI094973, R21AI098098 (Co-PI: Cheng, Price), MMV 12/0076 (Co-PI: Kyle, Ferdig), & R21AI105328 (Marti, PI).