Malaria parasites must acquire essential nutrients, including pantothenate or vitamin B5, from their mosquito and human hosts to successfully complete their development. In published and ongoing studies, we have confirmed that manipulation of mosquito pantothenate stores can starve malaria parasites of this essential nutrient and be used as the basis of novel transmission blocking strategies.
The two postdoctoral fellows on this project will complete studies in the Luckhart lab, in coordination with Dr. Mike Riehle and his team at the University of Arizona, to accomplish the aims of the project. A unique collaboration leverages expertise of colleagues at St. Jude Children’s Hospital to repurpose small molecule drug candidates that target mammalian pantothenate kinase, the rate-limiting enzyme in conversion of pantothenate to coenzyme A, for our studies in the highly invasive malaria mosquito Anopheles stephensi. The aims of the project include biochemical and genetic strategies to manipulate mosquito pantothenate levels to block mouse and human malaria parasite transmission, with associated studies of the effects of these manipulations on mosquito life history traits, stress resistance and metabolism.
Interested candidates with expertise and publications in physiology, biochemistry, or molecular cell biology of insects or other animals are encouraged to apply. Each postdoctoral fellowship provides $54,840 in salary plus benefits and up to $5,480 in moving expenses. To apply, please send your full CV, a cover letter describing your interest in the position and names/contact information for three professional references by email to [email protected]. The positions are available immediately and open until filled.