Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Sibley, L. David
Location Washington University in St. Louis
Primary Field Animal, Nutritional and Applied Microbial Sciences
Secondary Field Microbial Biology
 Election Citation
Sibley is a major leader in the study of parasitic protozoans. His work pioneered the intersection of basic infection and cell biology with molecular genetics and genetic crossing in Toxoplasma, discovering key genes implicated in virulence which he is now targeting for chemotherapy by advanced structural and pharmacological approaches.
 Research Interests
My research program is focused on defining adaptations that enable intracellular parasites to gain entry into their host cells, avoid host defenses, and establish a replicative niche. Using Toxoplasma gondii as a model system, we have defined parasite-mediated mechanisms that control host-cell entry and egress, and that mediate tissue migration during parasite dissemination in the host. Together with an extensive group of international collaborators, we have explored genetic diversity and defined the global population structure of this widespread parasite of warm-blooded vertebrates including humans. We have developed a variety of genetic strategies to compare phenotypic differences between natural isolates and to define the molecular basis of pathogenesis. These studies demonstrate that pathogenesis determinants act by altering host gene expression, blocking signaling pathways, and subverting immune responses. Our findings have uncovered novel and essential aspects of parasite biology that provide opportunities for developing new therapies for animal and human diseases.

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