Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Michael Leibowitz, Ph.D.
Graduate Group Affiliations
Our lab is studying the interaction of malarial parasites with mammalian
endothelial cells. The endothelial cell binding by red blood cells infected
with Plasmodium falciparum plays a major role in the pathogenesis of severe
and cerebral malaria, which are responsible for the high mortality of this
infection. In the malarias infecting birds and reptiles, plasmodium
parasites can invade, replicate and persist in endothelial cells. However,
no such process has been demonstrated to date in any mammalian malaria
infections. We have recently found parasite-like bodies bound to Human
Umbilical Vein Epithelial Cell (HUVEC) cultures exposed to red blood cells
infected with P. falciparum. The biological significance of this finding is
currently under investigation.
Teaching and Research Awards