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Joseph Vinetz

Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases), Anthropology, and Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases); Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health

Contact Information

Joseph Vinetz, MD, FACP, FIDSA, FASTMH, BS

Research Summary

Dr. Vinetz's overall goal is to bring cutting edge science to enable infectious disease control and elimination, with particular focuses on malaria and leptospirosis. His laboratory takes a comprehensive approach is from laboratory bench to bedside, translating mechanistic molecular biology, biochemistry, immunology and cell biology approaches to malaria, leptospirosis and other infectious diseases. A key component of Dr. Vinetz’ research program is field work in Peru, both in the capital city of Lima and the Amazonian city of Iquitos, where he maintains state-of-the-art and field-based laboratories. He also has important collaborations in Brazil (São Paulo, Brazilian Amazon, Acrelandia, Porto Velho, Rôndonia) and Sri Lanka (Anuradhapura, Kandy, Galle).

Extensive Research Description

Current projects:

1. Malaria: We are studying the fundamental biology of malaria resilience in the Amazon. Based in our field laboratories in Iquitos, Peru (in collaboration with Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia), in Mâncio Lima, Brazil (in collaboration with Universidade de São Paulo) and in Porto Velho, Brazil (in collaboration with FioCruz and the University of Massachusetts), we characterize human populations of malaria transmission reservoirs (epidemiology); study the molecular ecology and transmission biology of human-Anopheles interactions; and investigate molecular and cellular mechanisms of non-sterilizing clinical immunity to malaria caused by P. vivax and P. falciparum.

2. Mechanisms of Plasmodium-mosquito interactions. We study the molecular basis of Plasmodium ookinete-mosquito midgut interactions, with current projects focusing on cellular and molecular mechanisms by which ookinetes form secretory organelles, micronemes, and the composition of a newly discovered macromolecular complex mediating midgut invasion. We study ookinetes using animal models of malaria, rodent model P. berghei and avian model, P. gallinaceum, and of human parasites, P. vivax and P. falciparum. We also produce P. vivax sporozoites for use in fundamental experimental studies of liver stage infection including mechanisms of hypnozoite formation (the latent forms), towards new vaccine and drug interventions.

3. Leptospira and Leptospirosis. Laboratories at Yale, in Peru (Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia) and in Sri Lanka (Rajarata University of Sri Lanka) collaborate on multidisciplinary studies of Leptospira and leptospirosis, focused on clinical field studies of acute undifferentiated febrile illness to characterize epidemiological and clinical features of leptospirosis. We translate these field studies towards the development and deployment of new novel molecular and point-of-care diagnostic tests, by obtaining primary isolates of Leptospira that inform us about regionally-specific strains, and do so by carrying out genomic analysis of these isolates for molecular epidemiological studies, biochemical and immunological analysis, and vaccine development, all towards identifying new approaches to the control and elimination of leptospirosis, a bacterial zoonosis of high global impact.


Research Interests

Brucellosis; Leptospira; Leptospirosis; Malaria; Parasitic Diseases; Tropical Medicine; Global Health; Zoonoses; Malaria, Falciparum; Malaria, Vivax; Malaria Vaccines

Research Images

Selected Publications