The Malaria Host-Pathogen Interaction Center (MaHPIC) was established in September 2012 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the US National Institutes of Health. The MaHPIC team will conduct systems biology research with the benefit of a five-year NIAID contract award of up to $19.4 million, depending on contract options exercised, as noted in the project’s original press release.
The Malaria Host-Pathogen Interaction Center (MaHPIC) is led by Emory University, with three main partner institutions: the University of Georgia, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University is administering the contract. The project also includes a prestigious Scientific Consultation Group.
The MaHPIC team is using the comprehensive modern research approach called “systems biology” to study and catalog in molecular detail how malaria parasites interact with their human and other animal hosts and cause disease. The central unifying hypothesis of this project is that “Non-Human Primate host interactions with Plasmodium pathogens as model systems will provide insights into mechanisms as well as indicators for human malarial disease conditions”.
The MaHPIC project is extremely innovative, with groundbreaking plans to integrate data generated by malaria research, functional genomics, proteomics, lipidomics and metabolomics cores, with the aid of informatics and computational modeling cores. The amount of data to be generated and integrated is unprecedented.
The MAHPIC team has the potential for major breakthroughs that ultimately will advance our understanding of malaria and help diagnose, prevent or treat the disease. This research is fundamental to developing and evaluating new malaria diagnostic tools, antimalarial drugs and vaccines for different types of malaria.
Project Title: Systems Biology of Malaria as a Model for Host-Pathogen Interactions
Drs. Mary R. Galinski, Alberto Moreno, MD, and Juan B. Gutierrez, PhD, are also integrally involved with an NIAID-funded International Center of Excellence for Malaria Research (ICEMR) in Colombia, South America and an associated network of institutions supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and several of these centers will have a role in the MaHPIC.