Jonathan Kurtis, MD, PHD
Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Work: +1 401-444-7375
Dr. Jonathan Kurtis applies the techniques of molecular biology, immunology and population biology to identify vaccine candidates for both malaria and schistosomiasis in east Africa and the Philippines. By analyzing the relationship between specific immune responses and naturally acquired resistance in endemic populations, Dr. Kurtis identifies and characterizes new vaccine candidates. His current interests include the modulation of protective immune responses by nutritional and developmental factors in the human host and the identification of vaccine candidates for pediatric falciparum malaria.
BiographyDr. Jonathan Kurtis directs the Lifespan Center for International Health Research. He received his BA in geology/biology from Brown University, his PhD in molecular parasitolgy from Brown University and his MD from Brown University. He completed post-doctoral training in malaria immuno-epidemiology from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Kisumu, Kenya. Dr. Kurtis completed his residency training in clinical pathology and his fellowship training in transfusion medicine and coagulation at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Research DescriptionJonathan Kurtis, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Director of the Center for International Health Research, applies the techniques of molecular biology, immunology and population biology to identify vaccine candidates for both malaria and schistosomiasis in east Africa and the Philippines. By analyzing the relationship between specific immune responses and naturally acquired resistance in endemic populations, Dr. Kurtis identifies and characterizes new vaccine candidates.
Dr. Kurtis has led studies in Kenya beginning in 1989 with a population ecology study on the Kenyan coast. He has studied schistosomiasis immunity since 1993 and participated in field based data collection in the Philippines, China and Brazil. His schistosomiasis studies have produced an anti-worm monoclonal antibody that conferres significant resistance against S. japonicum cercarial challenge. He further characterized the nature of the cognate worm protein by biochemical and molecular cloning techniques.
In addition, Dr. Kurtis has conducted extensive, longitiudinal immuno-epidemiologic studies in cohort of 270 individuals residing in a malaria endemic community in western Kenya. He examined 1) the relationship between puberty and resistance to reinfection, 2) the relationship between cellular and humoral immune responses and resistance to reinfection, 3) the relationship between cytokine gene polymorphisms and resistance to reinfection, and 4) together with Dr. Friedman, the relationship between pro-inflammatory cytokines and malnutrition.
More recently, using a transdisciplinary approach, Dr. Kurtis has identified a novel vaccine candidate for falciparum malaria using these epidemiologically characterized reagents.
Dr. Kurtis is currently funded to: 1) identify the molecular mechanisms of morbidity in facliparum malaria (Gates Foundation), 2) assess the impact of treatment for maternal schistosomiasis on birth outcomes and placental immune responses (NIAID), and 3) identify novel vaccine candidates for pediatric falciparum malaria (NIAID).
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