Sha Huang (EECS) helps find a protein that impedes microcirculation of malaria-infected red blood cells


October 3, 2012

When the parasite responsible for malaria infects human red blood cells, it launches a 48-hour remodeling of the host cells. During the first 24 hours of this cycle, a protein called RESA undertakes the first step of renovation: enhancing the stiffness of the cell membranes. That increased rigidity impairs red blood cells’ ability to travel through the blood vessels, especially at fever temperatures, according to a new study from researchers at MIT, the Institut Pasteur and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). The study — coordinated by MIT’s Ming Dao, a principal research scientist in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE); Monica Diez Silva, a research scientist in DMSE; and YongKeun Park, an assistant professor of physics at KAIST — appears Aug. 30 in Scientific Reports, an online journal of Nature. Other MIT authors are Subra Suresh, former dean of the MIT School of Engineering and Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering who is currently on leave from MIT serving as the director of the National Science Foundation; Jongyoon Han, an associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS); Sha Huang, an EECS graduate student; recent PhD recipient Hansen Bow; and the late Michael Feld, professor of physics. Read the rest of the article on MIT newsphoto by M. Scott Brauer

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