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George
Dimopoulos
,
PhD

Professor

George Dimopoulos, PhD, MBA, studies vector-borne diseases and how mosquitoes can be rendered incapable of transmitting human pathogens.

Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe Street, Suite E3630
Baltimore
Maryland
21205
US        
410-955-0105

Research Interests

Malaria; Anopheles gambiae; Plasmodium; Aedes aegypti; Chromobacterium; malaria; dengue; Zika; innate immunity; microbiome; microflora; metagenomics; transcriptomics; genomics; vector biology; biopesticides
Experiences & Accomplishments
Education
MBA
Johns Hopkins Carey Business School
2008
PhD
University of Crete and the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
1996
Overview
There is a great need to develop novel malaria and dengue control strategies because of the failures of current eradication approaches and the logistical difficulties to implement them. One interesting aspect of these diseases is that the mosquito that transmits the pathogens can mount immune responses against the infection that will kill a large proportion of malaria parasites and inhibit the dengue virus. My group is pursuing research to understand how the mosquito’s immune system and its intestinal microflora is capable of blocking pathogens and how we can use this knowledge to develop human pathogen resistant mosquitoes. We have already made great advances towards this goal, through several independent but synergistically interacting projects, and identified several immune factors and microbes that are responsible for conferring resistance to the parasite and the virus in their respective mosquito vectors. We are generated genetically modified super-immune mosquitoes, with an enhanced immune system, that are resistant to the malaria parasite. We have also identified bacteria of the mosquito intestine that can either directly or indirectly block the malaria parasite and the dengue virus, thereby rendering the mosquito incapable of transmitting disease. We are currently characterizing these biological systems and processes to assess whether they can be used for the development of disease control strategies. Our competitive advantage derives from a unique blend of core competencies in molecular entomology, innate immunity, microbiology and functional genomics, as well as the access to state-of-the-art research infrastructure. I have studied the molecular biology of mosquitoes that transmit human pathogens since 1991 (BIO & CV) and have had the fortune to experience the generation of knowledge and tools that has the potential to save millions of lives. The long-term goal of my research program is to broaden the basic knowledge of this field and provide new tools for the development of disease control strategies. Read more about our research activities on the Dimopoulos Group website. See also: Dimopoulos Group Page: http://www.dimopoulosgroup.org/ Meet the Dimopoulos Group: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKpj5sSNlVI Parasitology Core Facility: http://www.parasitecore.org GooGle Scholar: http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=Z7vJU1wAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao  
Honors & Awards
Elected member of the Alpha Chapter of the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society (2018) Shikani/El-Hibri Prize for Discovery & Innovation (2018) Member of the American Academy of Microbiology (2016) Ellison Medical Foundation Young Investigator Award (2004 - 2008).
Select Publications
Representative publications of my research are the following. For complete Google Scholar list see: https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=Z7vJU1wAAAAJ&view_op=list_works&sortby=pubdate
  • Dong Y, Simões ML, and Dimopoulos G (2020) Versatile transgenic multi-stage effector-gene combinations for Plasmodium falciparum suppression in Anopheles. Sci. Adv. 6:6: eaay5898.
  • Dong Y, Simões ML, Marois E, Dimopoulos G. (2018) CRISPR/Cas9 -mediated gene knockout of Anopheles gambiae FREP1 suppresses malaria parasite infection. PLoS Pathogens 8;14(3).
  • Pike A, Dong Y, Dizaji NB, Gacita A, Mongodin EF, Dimopoulos G. (2017) Changes in the microbiota cause genetically modified Anopheles to spread in a population. Science 357(6358):1396-1399.
  • Anglero-Rodriguez YI, Talyuli OAC, Blumberg BJ, Kang S, Demby C, Shields A, Carlson J, Jupatanakul N, Dimopoulos G. (2017) An Aedes aegypti-associated fungus increases susceptibility to dengue virus by modulating gut trypsin activity. eLIFE, 6. pii: e28844.
  • Cirimotich CM, Dong Y, Clayton AM, Sandiford SL, Souza-Neto JA, Mulenga M, and Dimopoulos G (2011) Natural microbe-mediated refractoriness to Plasmodium infection in Anopheles gambiae. Science 332: 855-858.
Projects
Anopheles responses to Plasmodium infected blood
Dissection of the mosquito Aedes Aegypti’s immune responses to Dengue infection