Dr. Kami Kim is physician scientist whose research focuses upon understanding the pathogenesis of toxoplasmosis and malaria, human parasitic infections that affect at least a third the world’s population. She has previously used a genetics approach to identify new potential drug targets including novel malaria purine salvage pathway enzymes and serine proteases involved in host cell invasion and parasite development.
Current research interests include:
1. A systems biology approach toward understanding the molecular basis of persistence of Toxoplasma gondii. T. gondii is a successful parasite because of its ability to persist as a latent bradyzoite form that can reactivate in response to waning immune function. The developmental transition to the latent form is epigenetically regulated and Dr. Kim has led the effort to understand epigenetic gene regulation in T. gondii using a multidiscipliniary approach that integrates genomics, epigenomics, proteomics and transcriptomics data.
2. Understanding epigenetic and genetic factors that govern the host response to parasitic infections, opportunistic pathogens and tuberculosis. Using genomics and genetics tools Dr. Kim is studying the epigenetic and genetic traits that affect human responses to infectious pathogens including T. gondii and tuberculosis.
3. In collaboration with clinical investigators at the Blantyre Malaria Project (Terrie Taylor, Karl Seydel, Dan Milner) in Malawi, Dr. Kim is attempting to understand the clinical impact of HIV co-infection upon cerebral malaria.