Dr. Jonathan Juliano is an internationally recognized leader in malaria research and a pioneer in the use of next generation sequencing technologies for applied genomics projects. He is an Associate Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he has helped to establish a major center for translational malaria research. He has had continuous independent NIH funding since 2010. Dr. Juliano is committed to an academic career in patient-oriented research (POR), in which he and his trainees address problems with direct relevance to malaria control. Recently, he received the prestigious 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award for Post-Baccalaureate Instruction at UNC for his strong record of mentoring trainees, which focuses on Infectious Disease fellows and MD/PhD students involed in POR. The proposed K24 award will allow Dr. Juliano to develop new research skills to enhance his research expertise and mentorship by gaining skills in statistical genetics and population genomics, by learning strategies for effective leadership, and by enhancing his mentoring skills. The proposed research will establish new research opportunities to foster the career development of his trainees. To achieve his goals, Dr. Juliano will leverage the extensive training resources available at UNC, including the NC Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute, the Gillings School of Global Public Health, and the School of Medicine. Dr. Juliano?s involvement in these programs, as well as the School of Medicine MD/PhD program and the UNC Infectious Diseases Fellowship program, ensures that he will be well positioned to recruit and mentor trainees, including students, fellows and junior faculty. As part of this proposal, he will receive both formal and informal guidance to develop as a mentor and also increase his participation in formal mentoring activities on campus. Central to Dr. Juliano?s research is understanding antimalarial resistance. The emergence of drug-resistant malaria parasites is a major hurdle in the control of Plasmodium falciparum, which has evolved resistance to nearly every antimalarial drug in use. Importantly, little is known about how parasite populations evolve to permit the emergence and spread of resistance. Statistical genetics and demographic inference provide a framework for understanding parasite population characteristics that impact the rate and timing of the spread of resistance. These approaches provide an opportunity to predict future paths for the spread of resistance and to help develop targeted interventions. The Demographic Inference to Study Antimalarial Resistance Migration (DISARM) study will translate advances made in statistical genetics for humans to the study of malaria parasite populations. The proposed K24 will permit Dr. Juliano to develop a research platform that is a natural extension of his previous work, represents a significant methodological advance for the study of malaria, and provides rich opportunities for direct mentorship of trainees and young faculty members.

Public Health Relevance

The emergence of drug-resistant malaria parasites is a major obstacle to the control of Plasmodium falciparum. In order to ensure the continued effectiveness of these drugs, surveillance and containment of drug-resistant strains are required. Knowledge about the dispersal of parasites and parasite genes is essential for the design of effective interventions to prevent the spread of drug-resistant malaria. The proposed work leverages new methods in statistical genetics to identify population parameters that impact the spread of antimalarials, which can then be translated into control strategies. The proposed award will support the development of a research platform that employs translational genomics to improve our understanding of parasite biology, inform interventions for malaria control and elimination, and supports the career development of both the investigator and his trainees.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research (K24)
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Microbiology and Infectious Diseases B Subcommittee (MID)
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Joy, Deirdre A
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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
Chapel Hill
United States
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