Much of Dr. Dinglasan’s research has focused on finding a vaccine that will prevent malaria transmission. As part of this effort, Dinglasan has focused specifically on ways in which interactions between the human malaria parasites Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax and the Anopheles mosquito midgut can be better understood to disrupt the transmission of these pathogens to humans. To better study these interactions, he is interested in the application of mass spectrometry toward the molecular and cellular analysis of critical transition steps during malaria parasite transmission. He has also studied how nanoparticle technology can contribute to the development of vaccine and drug delivery systems.
His interest in preventing the spread of malaria has led him to study the developmental biology of the malaria parasite – concentrating on the parasite’s sexual stage. This stage of the parasite’s life cycle does not actually cause disease in humans, so it has not been studied as thoroughly as the erythrocytic stages, where the parasite infects red blood cells and causes disease.
Dinglasan’s lab also has an interest in both supplementing and innovating the current arsenal of anti-malarial treatments. By investigating pathways of infection and disease development, his team hopes to find natural product compounds with potential as drug scaffolds for new anti-malaria drugs. Dinglasan’s lab hopes to preempt eventual drug resistance by focusing on novel biochemical pathways in the parasite that can be targeted by natural product compounds. Combining these approaches allows the lab to target multiple aspects of the pathway from transmission to disease.