Alex Antonia

Headshot of Alex AntoniaMSTP/ MGM Graduate Student (2015)
Ko Lab
0049 CARL DUMC 3053
Durham, N.C. 27710
Phone: 919-613-0517


Research Interests:
I grew up in Land O’ Lakes, Florida before moving to North Carolina to pursue a bachelors degree in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a minor in chemistry and philosophy. My first research experience came during a summer internship studying the role of the E2F family of molecules in cancer in the laboratory of Dr. Doug Cress at the Moffitt Cancer Center. Upon returning to UNC, I joined the lab of Dr. Steve Meshnick and spent the next several years studying the molecular epidemiology of malaria. Researching the evolution and spread of drug resistance throughout sub-Saharn Africa piqued my interests in the pathogenesis and treatment of infectious disease. This experience led me to continue my education in the Duke Medical Scientist Training Program with the goal of gaining a better understanding of infectious diseases from basic biology through to clinical diagnosis and decision-making.
After completing the first two years of medical school, I joined the lab of Dr. Dennis Ko whose overall goal is to understand how host genetic variation affects the outcome of infectious diseases. Specifically, my project involves studying the mechanisms by which the Leishmania genus of intracellular parasites is able to modulate the host immune response by altering the Th1 vs Th2 balance. Hopefully insights into the underlying genetics and molecular mechanisms of this phenotype can ultimately lead to novel markers of disease prognosis and potential drug targets for novel therapeutics.

Publications List:
1. A. L. Antonia, S. M. Taylor, M. Janko, M. Emch, A. K. Tshefu, S. R. Meshnick, A cross-sectional survey of Plasmodium falciparum pfcrt mutant haplotypes in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 90, 1094-1097 (2014); published online EpubJun (10.4269/ajtmh.13-0378).

2. S. M. Taylor, A. Antonia, G. Feng, V. Mwapasa, E. Chaluluka, M. Molyneux, F. O. ter Kuile, S. J. Rogerson, S. R. Meshnick, Adaptive evolution and fixation of drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum genotypes in pregnancy-associated malaria: 9-year results from the QuEERPAM study. Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases 12, 282-290 (2012); published online EpubMar (10.1016/j.meegid.2011.11.006).

3. S. M. Taylor, A. L. Antonia, E. Chaluluka, V. Mwapasa, G. Feng, M. E. Molyneux, F. O. ter Kuile, S. R. Meshnick, S. J. Rogerson, Antenatal receipt of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine does not exacerbate pregnancy-associated malaria despite the expansion of drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum: clinical outcomes from the QuEERPAM study. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America 55, 42-50 (2012); published online EpubJul (10.1093/cid/cis301).

4. S. M. Taylor, A. L. Antonia, W. E. Harrington, M. M. Goheen, V. Mwapasa, E. Chaluluka, M. Fried, E. Kabyemela, M. Madanitsa, C. Khairallah, L. Kalilani-Phiri, A. K. Tshefu, S. J. Rogerson, F. O. Ter Kuile, P. E. Duffy, S. R. Meshnick, Independent lineages of highly sulfadoxine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum haplotypes, eastern Africa. Emerging infectious diseases 20, 1140-1148 (2014); published online EpubJul (10.3201/eid2007.131720).

5. S. M. Taylor, A. L. Antonia, C. M. Parobek, J. J. Juliano, M. Janko, M. Emch, M. T. Alam, V. Udhayakumar, A. K. Tshefu, S. R. Meshnick, Plasmodium falciparum sulfadoxine resistance is geographically and genetically clustered within the DR Congo. Scientific reports 3, 1165 (2013)10.1038/srep01165).