Mary Galinski, PhD
Emory Vaccine Center
Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine
Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health
Yerkes National Primate Research Center
Dr. Galinski is a Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases of the Department of Medicine and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in Emory University’s School of Medicine, and also holds an appointment in the Hubert Department of Global Health of the Rollins School of Public Health. Dr. Galinski earned her Ph.D. from the Sackler Institute of Biomedical Sciences at New York University School of Medicine, with an emphasis in molecular parasitology. Before joining Emory in 1998, she was a member of the faculty at NYU School of Medicine in the Department of Medical and Molecular Parasitology.
In addition to her research efforts, Dr. Galinski is an internationally recognized leader in efforts to raise awareness of the enormity of the malaria burden worldwide, and advocate for the increase of expanded research resources, interdisciplinary collaborative linkages, and the development and implementation of effective solutions to this major global health problem. Dr. Galinski has also emphasized the need to train the next generation of malaria experts, and has encouraged the participation of educators and health leaders worldwide in this effort. Towards achieving these goals, Dr. Galinski founded the Malaria Foundation International in 1992, with the mission to facilitate the development and implementation of solutions to the health, economic and social problems caused by malaria.
MaHPIC = Malaria Host-Pathogen Interaction Center
We investigate malaria from different vantage points, with a high level of local and international collaboration. We study the genetic, biological, and immunobiological invasion and evasion mechanisms used by Plasmodium parasites to enter and survive in host cells. We identify molecules involved in the invasion of erythrocytes and others expressed in the infected host cell membrane. We utilize post-genomic tools to investigate the protein and lipid makeup of the blood-stage parasites and biological mechanisms of survival, including antigenic variation. We are unraveling the molecular mechanisms that govern the process by which the parasite expresses selected members of 50 - 100 variant antigen genes to produce one or a few variant proteins and transport them to the surface of the host cell. Particularly in P. falciparum, these proteins harbor adhesive characteristics and are critical factors in malaria pathogenesis. Plasmodium vivax studies focus on this species’ unique biological features: liver-stage hypnozoites that become activated to cause relapsing blood-stage infections, the merozoite’s restricted invasion of reticulocytes, and the development of caveolae vesicle complex structure at the surface of the infected host cells. Our investigations also address selected epidemiology questions, and include vaccine and drug testing.
We collaborate with scientists conducting clinical research in malaria endemic areas and use NHP model systems to compare and contrast host-parasite interactions and mechanisms of survival. NHP models include P. knowlesi, P. coatneyi and P. cynomolgi in macaques, and P. falciparum and P. vivax in Aotusand Saimiri monkeys. Transfection technologies enable genetic manipulations to investigate the biological features of these parasites, and advanced microscopy and cell technologies are pushing the boundaries of what can be learned. Systems biology approaches are permitting a comprehensive analysis of host-pathogen interactions, and the integration of functional genomic, proteomic, lipidomic and metabolomic data, via informatic and computational modeling methods.