Plasmodium falciparum malaria is responsible for the deaths of over half a million African children annually. Until a decade ago, dynamic analysis of the malaria parasite was limited to in vitro systems with the typical limitations associated with 2D monocultures or entirely artificial surfaces. Due to extremely low parasite densities, the liver was considered a black box in terms of Plasmodium sporozoite invasion, liver stage development, and merozoite release into the blood. Further, nothing was known about the behavior of blood stage parasites in organs such as the brain where clinical signs manifest and the ensuing immune response of the host that may ultimately result in a fatal outcome. The advent of fluorescent parasites, advances in imaging technology, and availability of an ever-increasing number of cellular and molecular probes have helped illuminate many steps along the pathogenetic cascade of this deadly tropical parasite.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases