Prof George Dimopoulos
Prof George Dimopoulos
Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health
Presentations at BSP Spring Meeting 2018
Profile of Prof George Dimopoulos
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