George Dimopoulos, PhD
Director of the Parasitology Core Facility
Center & Institute Affiliation(s):
615 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore , Maryland 21205
PhD , University of Crete and the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology , 1996
MBA , Johns Hopkins Carey Business School , 2007
There is a great need to develop novel malaria and dengue control strategies because of the failures of current eradication approaches and the logistical difficulties to implement them. One interesting aspect of these diseases is that the mosquito that transmits the pathogens can mount immune responses against the infection that will kill a large proportion of malaria parasites and inhibit the dengue virus. My group is pursuing research to understand how the mosquito’s immune system and its intestinal microflora is capable of blocking pathogens and how we can use this knowledge to develop human pathogen resistant mosquitoes. We have already made great advances towards this goal, through several independent but synergistically interacting projects, and identified several immune factors and microbes that are responsible for conferring resistance to the parasite and the virus in their respective mosquito vectors. We are generated genetically modified super-immune mosquitoes, with an enhanced immune system, that are resistant to the malaria parasite.
We have also identified bacteria of the mosquito intestine that can either directly or indirectly block the malaria parasite and the dengue virus, thereby rendering the mosquito incapable of transmitting disease. We are currently characterizing these biological systems and processes to assess whether they can be used for the development of disease control strategies. Our competitive advantage derives from a unique blend of core competencies in molecular entomology, innate immunity, microbiology and functional genomics, as well as the access to state-of-the-art research infrastructure. I have studied the molecular biology of mosquitoes that transmit human pathogens since 1991 (BIO & CV) and have had the fortune to experience the generation of knowledge and tools that has the potential to save millions of lives. The long-term goal of my research program is to broaden the basic knowledge of this field and provide new tools for the development of disease control strategies. Read more about our research activities on the Dimopoulos Group website. See also:
Dimopoulos Group Page: http://www.dimopoulosgroup.org/
Meet the Dimopoulos Group: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKpj5sSNlVI
Parasitology Core Facility: http://www.parasitecore.org
Malaria, Anopheles gambiae, Plasmodium, Aedes aegypti, Dengue, innate immunity, microbiome, microflora, metagenomics, transcriptomics, genomics, malaria control, dengue control
Clayton AM, Cirimotich C, Dong, Y and Dimopoulos G. (2012) Caudal is a negative regulator of the Anopheles Imd pathway that controls resistance to Plasmodium falciparum infection. Dev Comp Immunol. In Press.
Dong Y, Cirimotich C, Pike A, Chandra R and Dimopoulos G (2012) Anopheles NF-κB -regulated splicing factors direct pathogen-specific repertoires of the hypervariable pattern recognition receptor AgDscam. Cell Host & Microbe 12, 521–530.
Chen Y, Dong Y, Sandiford S and Dimopoulos G. (2012) Transcriptional mediators Kto and Skd are involved in the regulation of the IMD pathway and anti-Plasmodium defense in Anopheles gambiae. PLoS ONE, 2012;7(9):e45580.
Garver LS, Bahia AN, Das S, Souza-Neto J, Shiao J, Dong Y and Dimopoulos G (2012) Anopheles Imd pathway factors and effectors in infection intensity-dependent anti-Plasmodium action. PLoS Pathogens. 8(6): e1002737.
Sim S, Ramirez JL and Dimopoulos G (2012) Dengue virus infection of the Aedes aegypti salivary gland and chemosensory apparatus induces genes that modulate infection and blood-feeding behavior. PLoS Pathogens. 8(3):e1002631.