Dr. Sacci received his PhD from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. He then did post-doctoral fellowships at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. His research as both a doctoral student and post-doctoral fellow centered upon protozoan parasites and how they interact with their hosts. He has continued work with protozoan parasites while also teaching parasitology to both medical and graduate students.
There is a significant global burden of malaria infection due to the emergence of drug resistant parasites, insecticide resistant vectors and the lack of an efficacious vaccine. Because of this, there is a continuing need for the identification of new targets for chemoprophylaxis as well as the development of potential vaccine candidates. These goals will only be achievable if the biology of the parasite is defined for all stages. While significant information has been developed for several stages, the liver stage of Plasmodium has remained an under examined target for vaccine and drug development. The parasite has remained refractory to thorough analysis primarily because of the relatively small numbers of parasites that are found in the liver. Dr. Sacci’s research focus has been on understanding the liver stage of Plasmodium. He has used new tools that have become available in the past few years for studying Plasmodium in general and the liver stage in particular. His laboratory has recently utilized a Plasmodium falciparum infected chimeric mouse model and laser capture microdissection for isolating liver stage parasites to allow for the study of gene expression during this stage of development.