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Rabinovich Ernst

Research Associate

Orna Rabinovich Ernst, PhD, studies host-pathogen interactions, specifically how the malaria parasite manipulates the host’s immune response.

Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe St, E4209

Research Interests

Inflammation; Immune response; Host-pathogen interactions; Parasites; Malaria; Signal transduction;
Experiences & Accomplishments
Tel Aviv University
Dr. Rabinovich Ernst is interested in immune cell signaling, host-pathogen interactions and resolution of inflammation. Specifically, her research focuses on the immune response to malaria infection at the first stage of infection, in which an infected mosquito bites and inoculates the malaria sporozoites into the host’s skin. Using gene expression assays, intravital imaging and parasite mutagenesis, she works on delineating a novel mechanism by which the sporozoites manipulate the immune response in the skin and the draining lymph nodes.

Upon an infected mosquito bite, the malaria parasite in the skin is particularly vulnerable to antibody-mediated destruction, and yet, a sterile-antibody response to sporozoites is not generated, despite life-long exposure to sporozoites in adults in malaria-endemic areas. My hypothesis is that the parasite can strategically modulate the host immune response, suppressing a pro-inflammatory response. My project will yield data that could explain why people in endemic-areas are repeatedly infected with malaria throughout their lifetime and could lead to therapeutic strategies to overcome this host response.
Select Publications
Selected publications:
  • Ernst O, Sun J, Lin B, Banoth B, Rice C, Katz S, Vayttaden S, Dorrington GM, Liang J, Slepushkina N, Buehler E, McVicar D, Khillan J, Bryant C, Sutterwala F, Martin S, Lal-Nag M, Fraser IDC. A genome-wide screen uncovers broad roles for mitochondrial NDP kinases in inflammasome activation. Science Signaling, 2021, doi: 10.1126/scisignal.abe0387.
  • Ernst O, Glucksam-Galnoy Y, Athamna M, Ben-Dror I, Ben-Arosh H, Fraser IDC, Zor T. The cAMP pathway amplifies early MyD88-dependent and type I interferon-independent LPS-induced interleukin-10 expression in mouse macrophages. Mediators of Inflammation, 2019, Article ID 3451461.
  • Ernst O, Glucksam-Galnoy Y, Bhatta B, Athamna M, Ben-Dror I, Glick Y, Gerber D, Zor T. Exclusive temporal stimulation of IL-10 expression in LPS-Stimulated Mouse Macrophages by cAMP Inducers and Type I Interferons. Frontiers in Immunology, 2019, doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.01788.
  • Ernst O, Failayev H, Tsfadia Y, Zor T. A dual and conflicting role for imiquimod in inflammation: a TLR7 agonist and a cAMP phosphodiesterase inhibitor. Biochemical Pharmacology, 2020, doi:10.1016/j.bcp.2020.114206.
  • Ernst O, Zor T. Linearization of the Bradford protein assay. Journal of Visualized Experiments, 2010, 38 e1918, DOI: 10.3791/1918.