$125,000 Award

Project Overview

Although malaria is not endemic in the United States, the UMMC laboratories routinely diagnose malaria in travelers. Malaria naïve individuals are at the highest risk for developing severe malaria, which can lead to cerebral malaria and affect multiple organ systems. Prompt and accurate species-level diagnosis is critical for providing targeted therapy to patients with malaria. This project will leverage Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) technology to develop a diagnostic test that allows for the highly sensitive detection of nucleic acids specific for each Plasmodium species causing human malaria infection. We aim to implement this CRISPR-based rapid diagnostic test for use in the CLIA/CAP UMMC Clinical Laboratories of Pathology to improve our malaria detection algorithm. This technology has the potential to increase sensitivity of detecting low-parasitemia infections, improve specificity in difficult-to-identify scenarios, and decrease turn-around-time to obtaining species-level identification. 

Project Team

  • Nicole Putnam, PhD 
  • Feng Jiang, MD, PhD
  • Sanford Stass, MD
  • Kristin Mullins, PhD
  • Matthew Laurens, MD, MPH
  • Jonathan Jacobs