The Bei Lab

Using a translational systems biology approach to understand parasite persistence and immune evasion

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BEI LAB RESEARCH

Diversity, Transmission, Immunity

Our research interests in Plasmodium – the causative agent of malaria – lie at the intersection between population genetics, genomics, molecular genetics, epidemiology, and immunology. Current research uses a translational systems biology approach to study the impact of antigenic diversity on immune evasion, transmission, and virulence in setting of declining malaria transmission. We study the development of genotype-specific and genotype-transcendent immunity and assess the effect of specific persisting genotypes on neutralizing humoral immune responses and their transmission potential in the mosquito vector. We also works on malaria vaccine candidate discovery and validation, studying the functional consequences of naturally arising diversity. We have ongoing research projects in Senegal in addition to many active collaborations in Sub-Saharan African countries in both East and West Africa.

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A few things we love

What is the Bei Lab all about? These are some of our areas of interest

Genomic Surveillance

Using genomic tools, we track specific parasite types in the population over time. We want to understand where specific types are coming from and where they are headed next.

Experimental Genetics

We use experimental genetic systems to specifically asess the function of naturally arrising polymorphisms in the parasite and the host cell.

Systems Biology

Malaria is a complex system! We study many of the many factors that contribute to virulence, transmission, and persistence and try to find causal links.  

Methods Development

Our goal is to enhance high-impact science in LMIC settings. If we can do it here, we should be able to do it there! We love coming up with creative solutions to tackle the challenges of doing solid research in the field!

Featured Papers

Read about the work we are doing to understand host-pathogen-vector interactions

Genomic Surveillance

Tracking parasites in time and space using molecular surveillance techniques

Functional Genetics

Specifically addressing naturally occuring diversity in parasite antigens and in human erythrocyte receptors

Systems Biology

Considering multiple factors to understand the dynamics of Plasmodium populations in the field

Methods Development

Tracking parasites in time and space using molecular surveillance techniques

Papers Portfolio

Read about what the Bei Lab has been up to

Genomic Epidemiology

Dramatic Changes in Malaria Population Genetic Complexity in Dielmo and Ndiop, Senegal, Revealed Using Genomic SurveillanceDramatic Changes in Malaria Population Genetic Complexity in Dielmo and Ndiop, Senegal, Revealed Using Genomic Surveillance

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Functional Genetics – Plasmodium

Functional Analysis Reveals Geographical Variation in Inhibitory Immune Responses Against a Polymorphic Malaria AntigenFunctional Analysis Reveals Geographical Variation in Inhibitory Immune Responses Against a Polymorphic Malaria Antigen

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Functional Genetics – Human Erythrocyte

Basigin is a receptor essential for erythrocyte invasion by Plasmodium falciparum.Basigin is a receptor essential for erythrocyte invasion by Plasmodium falciparum.

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Methods Development

An Adjustable Gas-Mixing Device to Increase Feasibility of In Vitro Culture of Plasmodium falciparum Parasites in the Field

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Methods Development

In vitro genetic analysis of an erythrocyte determinant of malaria infection

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Functional Genetics – Human Erythrocyte

Ancient human sialic acid variant restricts an emerging zoonotic malaria parasite.

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Methods Development

A flow cytometry-based assay for measuring invasion of red blood cells by Plasmodium falciparum

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Systems Biology

Immune characterization of Plasmodium falciparum parasites with a shared genetic signature in a region of decreasing transmission.

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Our Team

Whether in New Haven or Senegal, our team of committed researchers are fighting against malaria!

Amy Kristine Bei

Assistant Professor
G4 Group Leader

Jumping between amazing teams in the lab and field

Duncan Ndugu Ndegwa

Postdoctoral Fellow
Yale School of Public Health

Experimental genetics, Invasion Biology, and vaccine candidate discovery

Alessandra da Silva Orfanó

Postdoctoral Fellow
Yale School of Public Health

Entomologist Extraordinaire!
Genomic determinants of Anopheles transmission

Sarah Lapidus

PhD Student

Serological surveillance &
immunity to variant surface antigens

Rebecca Li

Yale College Student

Genomic diversity and experimental genetic approaches in vaccine candidate antigens

Awa Deme

Postdoctoral Fellow
Université Cheikh Anta Diop

Studies genomic determinants of virulence gene expression

Baba Dieye

Postdoctoral Fellow
Université Cheikh Anta Diop

Studies Plasmodium drug resistance and immunity

Aminata Mbaye Samb

Postdoctoral Fellow
Université Cheikh Anta Diop

Studies Plasmodium drug resistance and genetics of virulence

Yaye Die Ndiaye

Postdoctoral Fellow
Université Cheikh Anta Diop

Studies Plasmodium drug resistance and genetics of virulence

Mouhamad Sy

PhD Student
Université Cheikh Anta Diop

Spatiotemporal mapping of Plasmodium genotypes and next generation sequencing

Mariama Toure

Masters Student
Université Cheikh Anta Diop

Studies genetic diversity in the Pregnancy Associated Malaria vaccine candidate antigen Var2CSA

Alassane Mbengue

G4 co-leader
Institut Pasteur de Dakar

Molecular mechanisms of drug resistance in malaria

Khadidiatou Mangou

Technician Extraordinaire
Institut Pasteur de Dakar

Genetic Diversity and Ex Vivo Invasion Phenotypes

Laty Gaye Thaim

Postdoctoral Fellow
Institut Pasteur de Dakar

Ex vivo virulence phenotypes and Crispr-Cas9 Genome editing

Seynabou Diouf Sene

PhD Student
Institut Pasteur de Dakar

Impact of Senegalese Kelch13 mutations on drug resistance

Mariama Nicole Pouye

PhD Student
Institut Pasteur de Dakar

Ex vivo and molecular markers of drug resistance

Fatoumata Diallo

PhD Student
Institut Pasteur de Dakar

Antigenic variation in Plasmodium

Aboubacar Ba

PhD Student
Institut Pasteur de Dakar

Selective pressures influencing diagnostic sensitivity

Awa Faye Thiam

SUP Biotech Student
Institut Pasteur de Dakar

Crispr-Cas9 genome editing in Plasmodium vaccine candidates

Mateo Balbarin

High School Summer Intern
Wilbur Cross High School

Genomics to Experimental Genetics:
NGS, Bioinformatics, Crispr-Cas9

Cy An

High School Summer Student 
Dubai American Academy

Crispr-Cas9 Cloning

Adam Moore

MPH Student 2019-2020
Yale School of Public Health Alumnus

PfRh5 diversity and the impact on immune evasion

Pooja Rana

MPH Student 2019-2020
Yale School of Public Health Alumna

Molecular genotyping for diversity and drug resistance in Tanzania

Tammy Chen

MPH Student  2018-2019
Yale School of Public Health Alumna

Var2CSA diversity and the impact on Pregnancy Associated Malaria severity and immune evasion

You!

Postdoctoral Fellow, Student, etc.

The sky is the limit!

Latest News

New G4 Group in Senegal focused on Malaria Experimental Genetic Approaches & Vaccines

G4 Launch EnglishG4 Launch French




Apply to be a GHES Fellow in Senegal
For those interested in joining our Senegal team, the 2019-2020 application cycle for the Global Health Equity Scholars (GHES) fellowship has officially opened!  Application materials should be submitted online by November 15, 2018. Details about the program, eligibility information and the application can be found on the website at:

GHES Fellowship Program InformationHow to ApplyGHES Senegal



Want to join us? Now hiring! 

Postdoctoral Associate Position in the Bei Laboratory 

Context

 

I.     As successful malaria control measures have been implemented, transmission in some regions has declined, resulting in a decrease in parasite diversity and the emergence and persistence of specific parasite genotypes in multiple individuals in the population. Using genetic and genomic techniques and a translational systems biology approach, we will determine whether the persistence of specific parasite genotypes is related to neutralizing genotype-specific immunity, enhanced transmission potential, or undiscovered asymptomatic reservoirs, ultimately allowing the development of targeted genotype-transcendent interventions. 

II.    While malaria is treatable with chemotherapy, the emergence of drug-resistant parasites globally has made the development of an effective vaccine essential. Natural infection with the malaria parasite does not induce sterilizing immunity in humans, and vaccines to date show only modest efficacy. The process of malaria immunity is complex and dependent on many antigens with diverse alleles. To rationally prioritize vaccine candidates, it is essential to understand the impact of parasite diversity on functional immune responses. Rather than retrospectively assessing the impact of diversity, we seek to specifically test the role of naturally arising polymorphisms in blood stage vaccine candidate antigens on receptor binding and immune evasion before they reach late stage trials. 

 

Eligibility

We are looking for scientists who have completed their PhD and have experience in one or more fields of Molecular Biology, Genetics (including CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing), Genomics, Immunology, Epidemiology, and/or Entomology.We are looking for a motivated and collaborative postdoctoral associate interested in both fundamental and applied questions in Malaria Biology – specifically in questions of host-pathogen interactions, systems biology, immunology, transmission, and epidemiology. 

Essential Skills

  • PhD in a relevant subject area 
  • Knowledge of a range of research techniques and methodologies in both experimental and computational areas 
  • Ability to develop research objectives, projects and proposals independently
  • Experience of carrying out both independent and collaborative research 
  • Highly developed communication skills to engage effectively with a wide-ranging audience, both orally and in writing, using a range of media 
  • Interest in and enthusiasm for the subject matter of the project, and science in general!

 

Opportunities

  • Combine cutting-edge laboratory techniques in a vibrant and collegial academic setting with the ability to study disease dynamics in real-time in the field
  • Training in genomics, systems biology, experimental genetics and immunoepidemiology
  • Opportunities to work at our collaborative field research sites in Senegal

 

Interested applicants should submit a CV, a cover letter outlining research interests and qualifications, and contact information for 3 references.

For further information, please visit  https://publichealth.yale.eduor contact Amy Bei (amy.bei@yale.edu)

 

Yale University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Yale values diversity among its students, staff, and faculty and strongly welcomes applications from women, persons with disabilities, protected veterans, and underrepresented minorities.

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Senegal

Training

Resources and Shared Protocols from trainings past and present

Trainings Past and Present

We are working hard to develop tools and research solutions that can be implemented in the field. Part of this goal is participating in the training of talented young Malaria Researchers.  Find out about some of the trainings we have organized and access useful protocols and resources

P. falciparum Invasion Assay Workshop

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P. falciparum In vitro culture and adaptation

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Multiplex Serology: Applications for Surveillance and Elimination

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Yale School of Public Health

The lab is based within the vibrant and collaborative environment of the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at the Yale School of Public Health

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Hôpital Aristide Le Dantec, CHU Dakar, Senegal

We work together with our partners at University of Cheikh Anta Diop and Hôpital Aristide Le Dantec, including CEA-SAMEF (African Center of Excellence in Mother-Child Health) to address questions of malaria parasite ecology and adaptation in the face of changing transmission

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Institut Pasteur de Dakar, Senegal

Our G4 Group at the Institut Pasteur de Dakar is focused on strengthening cutting-edge molecular malaria research performed in Africa. We use experimental genetic tools to address the impact of parasite genetic diversity on vaccine efficacy.

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Centre d’Excellence Africain pour la Sante de la Mere et de l’Enfant (CEA-SAMEF)

As part of the African Centers of Excellence initiative, we work on research and training aimed at improving the health of mothers and children in Senegal and Sub-Saharan Africa

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