Dr Noushin Emami
Dr. S. Noushin Emami is a molecular infection biologist expert in the field of host-pathogen interactions, with particular interest in understanding the dynamics of malaria transmission. At the beginning of her scientific career she garnered significant knowledge in the fields of mathematics, physics, medicine, medical entomology, tropical medicine and public health. She also assimilated significant expertise in statistical modelling, programming and bioinformatics analyses. During her PhD residency at Glasgow University (UK) ,she received training in malaria vector ecology, behaviour, and host-parasite interaction. As a post-doctoral fellow, first at Imperial college London and then at Stockholm University, she had the opportunity to design projects independently to investigate malaria parasite-derived molecules that activate the immune response of the Anopheles vector. She have uncovered the molecular basis by which Plasmodium parasite improves its chance of transmission from its intermediate vertebrate host to its definitive invertebrate host (mosquito). Her work identified volatile molecules that are released from human erythrocytes via the parasite metabolic precursor HMBPP (Emami et al Science , 2017). This renders malaria-infected people more attractive to mosquitoes than uninfected people. Importantly, HMBPP exposes a profound weakness in the plasmodia that may be exploited, by the identification of key attractants that can be used to enhance trapping efficacy and interrupt malaria transmission. The blend (molecular mixture) of these volatiles have been patented under her name as main applicant. Her results have been published in peer-reviewed journals including Science.
Besides research, she likes to teach, so she volunteered to teach statistics to PhD students during her postdoc period. In 2018, she became the group leader and Principal Investigator (PI) of her projects in the Department of Molecular Biosciences, Stockholm University.
At present, her main academic ambition is to understand the chemical language that exists between pathogens and their hosts with the ultimate goal to design the next generation of diagnostic methods and vector control tools. Knowledge and Invention of such methods/tools will allow us to eavesdrop and manipulate insects/hosts in ways that would defeat pathogen transmission.
Keywords: Vector-parasite-host interactions, Infectious disease, Anopheles spp., Apicomplexan parasites, Transmission, Behaviour, Chemical ecology, Evolutionary analysis, Bioinformatics and Statistical models.
Insect vectors are frequently viewed as not more than “flying syringes” that transmit pathogens between hosts. However, host physiological status and behaviour as a result of pathogen manipulation has direct impact on transmission dynamics of the disease and has not yet been fully acknowledged. The main hypothesis of our newly established research group is to focus on avenues for basic and applied scientific exploration concerning which represents an ancient chemical language between pathogens and their insect hosts. Understanding of such languages will allow us to eavesdrop and manipulate insects/hosts in ways that defeat the pathogens.
Dr. Emami’s research interest encompasses a spectrum of areas from infection biology of vector-parasite-host interactions through to fundamental research in chemical ecology & evolution. Her strengths are in using integrated approaches that range from molecular and cellular scales through to individuals, populations, species, and ecosystems. Her current research is organised into five broad themes.
- Infection biology of vector-parasite-host interactions
- Infectious disease & host behavioural flexibility
- Chemical Ecology & Environmental Change
- Invention of strategies for blocking successful transmission
- Omics/Statistics/Evolutionary Analysis & models
- Since 2017 15h/week course: Infection Biology course for undergraduates, Stockholm University, Sweden
- Since 2014 20 h/week PhD course: Statistics, modelling and programming in R for biology PhD students, Stockholm University, Sweden
- 2013-2014 Consulting PhD students in Oman who have statistical modelling problems by email and Skype.
Mechanisms by which malaria parasites manipulate mosquito behaviour to enhance transmission
Swedish council research (start-up) grants (2018-2021):
Malaria infection renders humans more attractive to Anopheles gambiae malaria mosquitoes, increasing the risk of Plasmodium falciparum transmission. I have shown that this is linked to a parasite-produced isoprenoid precursor, (E)-4-hydroxy-3-methyl-but-2-enyl pyrophosphate (HMBPP), which indirectly affects mosquito attraction by causing erythrocytes to release more salient volatile molecules. Moreover, HMBPP directly affects the persistence of mosquito feeding, by acting as a phagostimulant. The overall purpose and aim of this research proposal is to further analyse the effect of MEP pathway metabolites on manipulating the human and vector hosts. The findings of this project may lead to novel ways to decrease mosquito biting, particularly on infective humans, and hence reduce malaria transmission. Overall, the benefit would be a reduced malaria morbidity and mortality in affected communities
Targeting host seeking malaria mosquitoes, using a trick evolved by their parasites
Swedish council net-working grant (2018-2020)
The overall purpose and aim of this research proposal is the development of a novel “lure” to be used for mass trapping of mosquitoes in regions affected by malaria. The findings of the proposed research will increase our understanding of malaria parasite transmission and the development of a novel control tool to reduce parasite transmission success in affected communities.
The role of microvesicles in mediating P. falciparum transmission to mosquitoes
Jeanssons Stiftelser 2019- grant
HMBPP is released into blood by P. falciparum and has a potential to regulate parasite sporogonic success in a mosquito. However, it remains unexplored how HMBPP is exported from P. falciparum-infected red blood cells into the bloodstream. We hypothesize that HMBPP is released via microvesicles, nanosized extracellular vesicles which are actively secreted out of parasite-infected red blood cells and denoted P. falciparum-infected red blood cell-derived microvesicles (PfRMVs)
At present, the high-lighted acquired results are under revision in high impact peer-reviewed journals
- Melika Hajkazemian (PhD student), Stockholm University, Sweden. Thesis title: Mechanisms by which malaria parasites manipulate mosquito behaviour to enhance transmission
- Joanna Szymczak (Postdoc), Stockholm University, Sweden.
- Madina Mohamed (PhD student), Stockholm University, Sweden. Thesis title: Extracts from the selected plants (herbal remedies in Prometra-Uganda and Rukararwe- Bumetha) are active against the malaria parasites, Plasmodium falciparum.
- Susanna Hua (Master student), Stockholm University, Sweden.
The publication marked with an asterisk are completely independent of my PhD supervisor, including my latest publication in Science and PLOS pathogens.
- Emami S.N., Hajkazemian M., Mozūraitis R., (2020). Can Plasmodium’s tricks for enhancing its transmission be turned against the parasite? New hopes for vector control, Pathogens and global health, DOI: 10.1080/20477724.2019.1703398(*). Introducing the new niche in Infection biology, and make a connection between basic and applied science.
- Mozūraitis R., Aleknavičius D., Vepštaitė-Monstavičė I., Stanevičienė R., Emami S. N., Apšegaitė V., Radžiutė S., Blažytė-Čereškienė L., Servienė E. and Būda V.,(2020). Hippophae rhamnoides berry related Pichia kudriavzevii yeast volatiles modify behaviour of Rhagoletis batava Journal of Advanced Research, , https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jare.2019.08.001 (*). Identifying behaviour of the insect encounter with pathogen.
- Azeem M., Iqbal Z., Emami S.N., Nordlander G., Nordenham H., Nazir A., Mozūraitis R. El-Seedi H. R., Borg-Karlson A. K., (2020). Chemical composition and evaluation of native plant-based essential oils against Aedes aegypti. Industrial Crops and Products,. DOI: 10.1111/aab.12586 (*). Identifying behaviour, and chemical ecology in an insect- plant interactions.
- Liua C.,Emami S. N., Pettersson J., Ranford-Cartwright L., Faye I., Parmryd I., (2018). Vγ9Vδ2 T cells proliferate in response to phosphoantigens released from erythrocytes infected with asexual and gametocyte stage Plasmodium falciparum, Cellular Immunology, PMID: 30177348 (*). Developing a method for collecting a pure mature gametocyte, and showing the stimulatory ability of gametocyte supernantant on vertebrate immune cells.
- Liu N., Uppuluri P., Broggi A., Besold A., Ryman K., Kambara H., Solis N., Lorenz V., Qi W., Zaldivar MA., Emami S.N., Boa B., An D., Bonilla F., Sola-Visner M., Filler S., Luo HR., Engstrom Y., Ljungdahl PO., Culotta VC., Zanoni I., Lopez-Ribot JL., Koehler JR., (2018). Intersection of phosphate transport, oxidative stress and TOR signalling in Candida albicans virulence, PLOS Pathogens, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1101/317933 (*). Investigating, and showing the virulence signalling cascade in insect as result of interaction with a pathogen ,identifying novel intersection signalling pathways between pathogen and host.
- Vafa Homann M., Emami S.N., Yaman V., Stenström C., Sonden K., Ramström H., Karlsson M., Asghar M., Färnert A., (2017), Detection of malaria parasites after treatment in travelers: A 12-months longitudinal study and statistical modelling analysis. EBioMedicine, DOI: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2017.10.003: PMID: 29050948(*). Investigating, and mathematical modelling of in vivo infection in collected human patient samples from Africa for understanding the infection disease patterns and clinical consequences.
- Emami S.N., Lindberg B.G., Hua S., Mozuraitis R., Lehmann P., Birgersson G., Hill S., Borg- Karlson A.K., Ignell R., Faye F., (2017), A key malaria metabolite modulates vector blood seeking, feeding, and susceptibility to infection. Science, 335: 1076-1080: PMID:28183997(*). Discovery of malaria parasite HMBPP, that induces changes in the human host that act as a rescue beacon by signalling to the mosquito vector to improve the odds of successful transmission.
- Emami, N., Ranford-Cartwright, L. C. & Ferguson, H. M., (2017), The transmission potential of malaria-infected mosquitoes (An.gambiae-Keele, An.arabiensis-Ifakara) is altered by the vertebrate blood type they consume during parasite development. Nature Scientific reports,7, 40520: PMID:28094293. We demonstrated that the proportion of vectors developing transmission-stage sporozoites is significantly influenced by the type of host blood on which they feed during sporogony.
- Shakeri Manesh S., Sangsuwan T., Pour Khavari, A., Fotouhi A., Emami S.N. & Haghdoost S., (2017), MTH1, an 8-oxo-2′-deoxyguanosine triphosphatase, and MYH, a DNA glycosylase, cooperate to inhibit mutations induced by chronic exposure to oxidative stress of ionizing Mutagenesis, 1-8. DOI:10.1093/mutage/gex003: PMID: 28340109(*). Investigating, and showing the influence of radiation on host cell, and identifying the stress signalling pathways
- Mohamed Adia M., Emami S.N., Byamukama R., Faye I., Borg-Karlson A.K., (2016), Antiplasmodial activity and phytochemical analysis of extracts from selected Ugandan medicinal plants., Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 20;186:14-9: PMID:27019273(*). Chemical ecology and its usage in new drug discovery for combating pathogens, such as malaria parasite.
- Emami N., Ranford-Cartwright L., Ferguson H.M., (2013), The impact of low erythrocyte density in human blood on the fitness and energetic reserves of the African malaria vector An. gambiae s.s. Malaria Journal, 12: 1-11: PMID: 23374331. Anaemia does not significantly reduce the fitness or transmission potential of malaria vectors, and mosquitoes may be able exploit resources for reproduction more efficiently.
- Vatandoost H., Emami S.N., Oshaghi M.A., Abai M.R., Akbarzadeh K., Piazzak N., & Townson H. (2011), Bionomics of Anopheles culicifacies in a malarious area, Sistan and Bluchestan province, southeast Iran. Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, 17 (5): 439-445: PMID: 21796958(*)
- Oshaghi MA, Ravasan NM, Javadian E, Rassi Y, Sadraei J, Enayati AA, Vatandoost H, Zare Z, Emami S.N., (2009), Application of predictive degree day model for field development of sandfly vectors of visceral leishmaniasis in northwest of , J Vector Borne Diseases, 01;46(4):247-55: PMID: 19959849(*)
Commissions Of Trust
- 2016 - Present - Board member at Centre of Malaria Research (CMR), KI, Stockholm, SWEDEN
- 2017- Present - Member of Mentor4Research program, Swedish national program for academic researchers and business mentors, Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, (IVA), Stockholm, Sweden
PhD Examination Board Member
- 2019 - Naomi L.P. Keehnen, Immunity and butterfly; a functional genomic study of natural variation in immunity, Dissertation Committee at Zoology department of Stockholm Univesity, Stockholm, Sweden.
- 2016 - Karolin Axelsson, Chemical signals in interactions between Hylobius abietis and associated bacteria, Dissertation Committee at KTH Royal Institute of Technology School of Chemical Science and Engineering, Stockholm, Sweden.
- 2016 - Lynda Kirie Eneh, Oviposition cues as a tool for developing new malaria control strategy, Dissertation Committee at KTH Royal Institute of Technology School of Chemical Science and Engineering, Stockholm, Sweden.
- 2014 - Marycelina Mubi, Impact of laboratory diagnosis for improving the management of uncomplicated malaria at peripheral health care setting in coast region, Tanzania, Dissertation Committee at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Memberships of Scientific Societies
- 2009 - Present British Society of parasitology
- 2013 - Present Swedish Malaria Network
- 2016 - Present Board member at Centre of Malaria Research (CMR), KI, Stockholm, SWEDEN
- 2017- Present Award for participating in Mentor4Research program, Swedish national program for academic researchers and business mentors, Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, (IVA), Stockholm, SWEDEN
- Intellectual property: The discovery of the HMBPP, as a potent phago-stimulant and inducer of the attractive blend is awarded a patent: GB patent application no. 1701743.5): submitted by the main applicant, S. Noushin Emami, (Potter Clarkson LLP- Stockholm University), registration date: 2 Feb 2017
- Intellectual property: Method for Automatic Irrigation of Domestic Plants: Swedish patent application no. 17514126): submitted by the main applicant, S. Noushin Emami, (Zacco ABs- Stockholm University), registration date: 15 Nov 2017
- The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application: The discovery of the HMBPP, as a potent phago-stimulant and inducer of the attractive blend is awarded a PCT: GB patent application no. 1701743.5): submitted by the main applicant, S. Noushin Emami, (Potter Clarkson LLP- Stockholm University), registration date: 2 Feb 2018
- Intellectual property: The discovery of the swarming pheremone, as a potent inducer of the attractive blend is awarded a patent: Swedish patent application no. EP2019/059642): submitted by the main applicant, S. Noushin Emami, (Zacco ABs- Stockholm University), registration date: 12 Feb 2018