Nirbhay Kumar    

Nirbhay Kumar, PhD
Department of Tropical Medicine
Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
J Bennett Johnston Bldg. Room 507
1324 Tulane Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone (504) 988-2577
Fax (504) 988-7313

Check out the Kumar Lab webpage

Personal Statement

Dr. Kumar's current interests are on the development of a vaccine to stop transmission of human malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Understanding mechanisms of sexual differentiation of Plasmodium and interaction with the anopheline mosquito vector guide the rational design of vaccines targeting the transmission process. Current focus of these vaccine studies includes: (1) recombinant expression of vaccine antigens, (2) optimization of immune responses of vaccine antigens formulated with various adjuvants including nanosomes and nanoparticles, (3) development of DNA vaccine combinations to interrupt malaria transmission, and (4) understanding immune correlates of vaccine efficacy and safety. In other studies, we are also investigating DNA damage response mechanisms in Plasmodium, especially during exposure to anti-malarial drugs such as artemisinin. Another growing interest (animal models and field studies) of the Kumar lab is to investigate parasitologic and immune interactions during malaria and helminth coinfections. Dr. Kumar currently teaches in three graduate level immune courses (Immunology, Immunoparasitology and Malariology). As a director of Vector-Borne Infectious Disease Research Center (VBIDRC), he is providing leadership for the establishment of transdisciplinary collaborative research programs combining expertise of more than a dozen faculty members from various schools and departments at Tulane and focusing on a number of vector-borne infectious diseases.

Research Interests:

  • Immunobiology of malaria transmission
  • Malaria Transmission blocking vaccine
  • Natural Immunity to Malaria
  • Recombination mechanisms in Plasmodium
  • DNA damage response ant anti-malaria action of artmesinins
  • Helminth – Plasmodium co-infections
  • Development of animal models for human malaria vaccines
  • Host-Parasite adaptation including Parasite-vector interactions


Educational Background:

  • B.Sc., Agra University, India, 1970
  • M.Sc., Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India, 1972
  • Ph.D., All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, India, 1977

Professional Achievements, Honors, Awards, & Recognitions:

  • 1993: Member Steering Committee on Immunology of Malaria, TDR, World HealthOrganization
  • 1994-1997: Expert Member, Scientific Advisory Committee, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India
  • 1999: ASM-UNESCO-Visiting Resource Program
  • 2002: Life Science 2002 Invention of the Year award, "Malaria Detection and Diagnosis." APL
  • 2002: JHU-APL, R.W.Hart Prize in Research honoring Excellence in Independent Research and Development
  • 2002: JHU-APL Publication Award for an Outstanding Research Paper in an Externally Refereed Publication
  • 2003: R. Barclay McGhee Memorial Lecture, American Society of Parasitology
  • 2005: Ranbaxy Science Foundation Medical Sciences (Basic Science) Award
  • 2007: Elected AAAS Fellow (American Association for the Advancement of Sciences)
  • 2008: Gairdner Symposium lecture
  • 2011: Chair, Travel Awards Committee of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
  • 2012: Elected Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology
  • 2013: Member, Education Committee, Association of Medical Schools of Microbiology and Immunology Chairs

Selected Recent Publications (Out of >165 published):

Merino KM, Bansal GP, Kumar N. Reduced immunogenicity of Plasmodium falciparum gamete surface antigen (Pfs48/45) in mice after disruption of disulfide bonds- evaluating effect of GILT. Immunology. 2016 May 14. doi: 10.1111/imm.12621.

Bansal, GP, Weinstein, CS & Kumar, N (2016). Insight into phagocytosis of mature sexual (gametocyte) stages of Plasmodium falciparum using a human monocyte cell line. Acta Tropica, 157, 96.

Kumar, R., Ray, PC., Datta, D., Bansal, GP., Angov, E., & Kumar, N. (2015). Nanovaccines for malaria using Plasmodium falciparum antigen Pfs25 attached gold nanoparticles. Vaccine.

Datta, D., Bansal, GP., Kumar, R., Ellefsen, B., Hannaman, D., & Kumar, N. (2015). Evaluation of the Impact of Codon Optimization and N-Linked Glycosylation on Functional Immunogenicity of Pfs25 DNA Vaccines Delivered by In Vivo Electroporation in Preclinical Studies in Mice. Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, 22(9), 1013-1019.

Kumar, R., Ray, PC., Datta, D., Bansal, GP., Angov, E., & Kumar, N. (2015). Nanovaccines for malaria using Plasmodium falciparum antigen Pfs25 attached gold nanoparticles. Vaccine.

Lukianova-Hleb, E., Kumar, N.,... Lapotko, D. (2015). Transdermal Diagnosis of Malaria Using Vapor Nanobubbles.

Sitali, L., Chipeta, J., Miller, JM., Moonga, HB., Kumar, N., Moss, WJ., & Michelo, C. (2015). Patterns of mixed Plasmodium species infections among children six years and under in selected malaria hyper-endemic communities of Zambia: population-based survey observations. BMC infectious diseases, 15(1), 204.

Gopalakrishnan, AM., & Kumar, N. (2015). Correction for Gopalakrishnan and Kumar, Opposing Roles for Two Molecular Forms of Replication Protein A in Rad51-Rad54-Mediated DNA Recombination in Plasmodium falciparum. mBio, 6(1).

Gopalakrishnan, AM., & Kumar, N. (2015). Antimalarial Action of Artesunate Involves DNA Damage Mediated by Reactive Oxygen Species. Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy, 59(1), 317-325.

Dwivedi, SB., Muthusamy, B., Kumar, P., Kim, M. S., Nirujogi, R. S., Getnet, D., Kumar, N... & Okulate, M. (2014). Brain proteomics of Anopheles gambiae. Omics: a journal of integrative biology, 18(7), 421-437.

Kumar R, Angov E, Kumar N. (2014). Potent malaria transmission blocking antibody responses elicited by Plasmodium falciparum Pfs25 expressed in E.coli after successful protein refolding. Infect Immun. [Epub ahead of print]

Mlambo G, Coppens I, Kumar N. (2013). Correction: Aberrant Sporogonic Development of Dmc1 (a Meiotic Recombinase) Deficient Plasmodium berghei Parasites.PLoS One, 1, 8(10).

Reiter K, Mukhopadhyay D, Zhang H, Boucher LE, Kumar N, Bosch J, Matunis MJ. (2013). Identification of biochemically distinct properties of the small ubiquitin-related modifier (SUMO) conjugation pathway in Plasmodium falciparum. J Biol Chem.,  288(39), 27724-36.

Sreenivasamurthy SK, Dey G, Ramu M, Kumar M, Gupta MK, Mohanty AK, Harsha HC, Sharma P, Kumar N, Pandey A, Kumar A, Prasad TS. (2013). A compendium of molecules involved in vector-pathogen interactions pertaining to malaria. Malar J, 12, 216.

Li Y, Kumar N, Gopalakrishnan A, Ginocchio C, Manji R, Bythrow M, Lemieux B, Kong H. (2013). Detection and species identification of malaria parasites by isothermal tHDA amplification directly from human blood without sample preparation. J Mol Diagn, 15(5), 634-41.

Kumar R, Nyakundi R, Kariuki T, Ozwara H, Nyamongo O, Mlambo G, Ellefsen B, Hannaman D, Kumar N. (2013). Functional evaluation of malaria Pfs25 DNA vaccine by in vivo electroporation in olive baboons. Vaccine, 31(31), 3140-7.

Gopalakrishnan AM, Kumar N. (2013). Opposing roles for two molecular forms of replication protein A in Rad51-Rad54-mediated DNA recombination in Plasmodium falciparum. MBio., 4(3), e00252-13.

Gopalakrishnan AM, Kundu AK, Mandal TK, Kumar N. (2013). Novel nanosomes for gene delivery to Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells. Sci Rep., 3, 1534.

Kumar S, Zheng H, Sangweme DT, Mahajan B, Kozakai Y, Pham PT, Morin MJ, Locke E, Kumar N.
(2013). A chemiluminescent-western blot assay for quantitative detection of Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein. J. Immunol. Methods, 10, 1016.

Mlambo G, Coppens, I, Kumar N. (2012). Aberrant sporogonic development of Dmc1 (a meiotic recombinase) deficient Plasmodium berghei parasites. PLoS One, 7(12), e52480.

Chaerkaddy, R,  Kelkar, DS, Muthusamy, B, Kandasamy, K,  Dwivedi, SB, Sahasrabudde, SA, Kim, MS, Renuse, S, Pinto, SM, Sharma, R, Pawar, H, Sekhar, NR, Mohanty, AK, Getnet, D,  Yang, Y, Dash, AP, MacCallum, RM, Delanghe, B, Mlambo, G, Kumar, A,  Okulate, M, Kumar N, and Pandey, A. (2011).A proteogenomic analysis of Anopheles gambiae using high-resolution Fourier transform mass spectrometry. Genome Research, 21, 1872-81.

Midzi, N, Zinyowera-Mutapuri, S, Sangweme, DT, Paul, NH, Makware, G, Mapingure, MP, Brouwer, KC, Mudzori, J, Hlerema, G, Chadukura, V, Mutapi, F, Kumar, N, Mduluza, T.
(2011). Efficacy of integrated school based de-worming and prompt malaria treatment on helminths-Plasmodium falciparum co-infections: A 33 months follow up. BMC International Health and Human Rights, 11,9.

Midzi, N, Zinyowera-Mutapuri, S, Mapingure, MP, Paul, NH, Sangweme, DT, Hlerema, G, Mutsaka, MJ, Tongogara, F, Makware, G, Chadukura, V, Brouwer, KC, Mutapi, F, Kumar, N, Mduluza, T. (2011). Knowledge attitudes and practices of grade three primary schoolchildren in relation to schistosomiasis, soil transmitted helmintiasis and malaria in Zimbabwe. BMC Infectious Diseases, 11, 169.

Noland GS, Chowdhury DR, Urban JF Jr, Zavala F, Kumar N. (2010). Helminth infection impairs the immunogenicity of a Plasmodium falciparum DNA vaccine, but not irradiated sporozoites, in mice. Vaccine, 28(17), 2917-23. 

Noland, G, Chowdhury, D, Urban, J., Fried, B and Kumar N. (2010). Reduced immunogenicity of a malaria subunit vaccine in helminth infected mice. Vaccine, 28, 2917-2923.

Mlambo, G, Kumar, N, Yoshida, S. (2010). Functional immunogenicity of baculovirus expressing Pfs25, a human malaria transmission-blocking vaccine candidate antigen. Vaccine, 28, 7025-9.

Sangweme, DS, Midzi, N, Mutapuri, S, Mduluza, T, Diener-West, M & Kumar, N. (2010).  Impact of schistosome infections on Plasmodium falciparum malariometeic índices and immune correlates in school age children in Burma Valley, Zimbabwe. PLos NTD, 4, e882.

Bhowmick IP, Kumar N, Sharma S, Coppens I, Jarori GK. (2009). Plasmodium falciparum enolase: stage-specific expression and sub-cellular localization. Malar J., 8, 179.

Sangweme D, Shiff C, Kumar N. (2009) Plasmodium yoelii: adverse outcome of non-lethal P. yoelii malaria during co-infection with Schistosoma mansoni in BALB/c mouse model. Exp Parasitol., 122(3), 254-9.

Sangweme, D., Shiff, C and Kumar, N. (2009). Adverse outcome of nonlethal Plasmodium yoelii malaria during co-infection with Schistosoma mansoni in a mouse model. Experimental Parasitology, 122, 254-259,

Ghosh AK,  Devenport M, Jethwaney D, Kalume DE, Pandey A, Anderson VE, Sultan AA, Kumar N, and Jacobs-Lorena M.
(2009). Malaria parasite invasion of the mosquito salivary gland requires interaction between the Plasmodium trap and the Anopheles Saglin proteins. Plos Pathogen, 5(1), e100265.

Nyunt, MM, Hendrix, CW, Bakhshi, R, Kumar, N, Shapiro, TA. (2009). Phase I/II evaluation of the prophylactic antimalarial activity of pafuramidine in health volunteers challenged with Plasmodium falciparum sporozoites. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 80, 528.

Chen, X, Xie, S, Kumar, N, Shapiro, T. and Liu, J. (2009). Fumagillin and Fumarranol interact with P. falciparum methionine aminopeptidase 2 and inhibit parasite growth in vitro and in vivo. Chemistry & Biology, 16, 193-202.

Chowdhury DR, Angov E, Kariuki T, Kumar N. (2009). A potent malaria transmission blocking vaccine based on codon harmonized full length Pfs48/45 expressed in Escherichia coli. PLoS One, 4(7), e6352.

Ellekvist E, Maciel J, Mlambo G, Ricke CH, Colding H, Klaerke DA, and Kumar N. (2008). Critical role of a K+ channel in Plasmodium berghei transmission revealed by targeted gene disruption. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 105, 6398-6402.

Mahajan, B, Selvapandiyan, A, Gerald, NJ, Majam, V, Zheng, H, Tiwari, J, Fujioka, H, Moch, JK, Kumar, N., Nakhashi, HL, Kumar, S. (2008). Centrins, cell cycle regulation proteins in human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. J. Biol. Chem., 283, 31871-83.

LeBlanc, R, Vasquez, Y, Hannaman, D and Kumar, N. (2008). Markedly enhanced immunogenicity of a Pfs25 DNA based malaria transmission blocking vaccine by in vivo electroporation. Vaccine, 26, 185-192.

Mlambo, G, Maciel, J and Kumar, N.
(2008). Development of a mouse model to evaluate malaria transmission blocking vaccines using a transgenic Plasmodium berghei expressing target antigen Pfs25. Infection & Immunity, 76, 2018-2024.

Complete List of Published Work in My Bibliography:

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