Distinguished Research Professor 2015
Boris Striepen, Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Investigator and professor of cellular biology, has made tremendous contributions towards our understanding of the cell and molecular biology of human parasites. His work has focused particularly on Toxoplasma, an opportunistic pathogen that causes severe disease in patients with weakened immune systems, such as AIDS patients or organ transplant recipients. Striepen studied a novel cell component, which is required for parasite survival and an attractive target for drug development. More recently, his laboratory has investigated the parasite Cryptosporidium. This organism is a leading cause of diarrheal disease and death in infants and toddlers around the world. Striepen and his colleagues have developed technology to genetically manipulate this organism, which up to now has been notoriously difficult to study. They are using this technology to work towards urgently needed drugs and vaccines. His genetic analyses of various parasites have also generated a clearer picture of the evolutionary origin and fundamental composition of dangerous pathogens. Striepen views teaching and the training of young scientists as an important and most enjoyable part of his work.