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Assistant Professor

Prakash Srinivasan, PhD, studies how malaria parasites enter host cells and applies findings to develop vaccines that will prevent them from causing disease.

Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe Street, E5628

Research Interests

Malaria; Parasitology; Molecular Microbiology and Immunology; Cell biology; Host-parasite interactions; Vaccine development; Small molecule inhibitors of protein-protein interactions
Experiences & Accomplishments
Case Western Reserve University
St. Joseph's College
Malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum remains one the most serious infectious diseases infecting over 200 million people and causing nearly 500,000 deaths every year, mostly in young children in Sub-saharan Africa. Clinical disease is caused by the exponentially growing parasites within the red blood cells (RBCs). We study the dynamic processes regulating successful parasite entry into and exit from host cells. Our goal is to better understand the molecular mechanisms regulating important biological processes outlined below. To address these questions we use complementary approaches encompassing conditional genome editing techniques, live cell imaging, high throughput screening, biochemistry and proteomics.

1. Understanding receptor-ligand interactions and the signaling mechanisms mediating parasite invasion: Successful parasite entry into host cells requires a sequence of receptor-ligand interactions, each responsible for a specific step in invasion. We study the signaling mechanisms that regulate the precise spatial and temporal secretion of parasite ligands and how these interactions shape the fate of the invading parasite.

2. Parasite induced modifications of the host cell: We are investigating the molecular interactions between the parasite and the host cell cytoskeleton that facilitates parasite entry without causing damage to the host cell.

3. Malaria vaccine development: We apply our understanding of how proteins function during parasite invasion to identify new vaccine targets and improve the design of existing antigens.

By studying the key factors and mechanisms by which they regulate host cell egress and invasion, we seek to open new paths for the development of novel intervention strategies to block invasion and prevent disease.
Select Publications
Selected Publications
  • Kumar K, Srinivasan P*, Nold MJ, Moch JK, Reiter K, Sturdevant D, Otto TD, Squires RB, Herrera R, Nagarajan V, Rayner JC, Porcella SF, Geromanos SJ, Haynes JD, Narum DL*.Profiling invasive Plasmodium falciparum merozoites using an integrated omics approach. Sci Rep. 2017 Dec 7;7(1):17146. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-17505-9. PMID: 29215067 *Corresponding authors.
  • Srinivasan P, Baldeviano GC, Miura K, Diouf A, Ventocilla JA, Leiva KP, Lugo-Roman L, Lucas C, Orr-Gonzalez S, Zhu D, Villasante E, Soisson L, Narum DL, Pierce SK, Long CA, Diggs C, Duffy PE, Lescano AG, Miller LH. A malaria vaccine protects Aotus monkeys against virulent Plasmodium falciparum infection. NPJ Vaccines. 2017;2:14. doi: 10.1038/s41541-017-0015-7. Epub 2017 May 22. PMID: 28804644
  • Draper SJ, Angov E, Horii T, Miller LH, Srinivasan P, Theisen M, Biswas S. Recent advances in recombinant protein-based malaria vaccines. Vaccine. 2015 Dec 22;33(52):7433-43. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.09.093. Epub 2015 Oct 11. PMID: 26458807
  • Srinivasan P*, Ekanem E, Diouf A, Tonkin ML, Miura K, Boulanger MJ, Long CA, Narum DL, Miller LH*. Immunization with a functional protein complex required for erythrocyte invasion protects against lethal malaria. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jul 15;111(28):10311-6. PubMed PMID: 24958881. *Corresponding authors.
  • Srinivasan P*, Yasgar A, Luci DK, Beatty WL, Hu X, Andersen J, Narum DL, Moch JK, Sun H, Haynes JD, Maloney DJ, Jadhav A, Simeonov A, Miller LH. Disrupting malaria parasite AMA1-RON2 interaction with a small molecule prevents erythrocyte invasion. Nat Commun. 2013; PubMed PMID: 23907321. *Corresponding author.