Advancing fundamental knowledge of the mechanisms underlying susceptibility to infection and the pathogenesis of disease due to malaria and chronic worm infections endemic in tropical areas of the world is the focus of Kazura’swork. The ultimate goal is to use this knowledge to develop preventative and interventional strategies that are culturally appropriate and cost-effective.
A major emphasis of research is to integrate the tools of human molecular immunology and genetics into field-based studies conducted in collaboration with research and public health colleagues based in disease-endemic countries. Active studies concerned with human falciparum malaria are aimed at determining whether and how naturally-occurring immunity to liver-stage and blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum evolves during the course of infancy and the mechanisms underlying the stability of this immunity. The emphasis is on two vaccine candidate molecules, P. falciparum Liver Stage Antigen-1 and Merozoite Surface Protein-1. This work is done in collaboration with colleagues from Papua New Guinea, Kenya and Australia. Active studies focused on human worm infections are concerned with lymphatic filariasis and are aimed at testing integrated strategies for control and elimination of this disease. The major emphasis is to evaluate whether attainment of control and eradication endpoints defined by vector and human infection rates affected by annual single dose Mass Drug Administration can be accelerated by integration with vector control using insecticide-impregnated bed nets. These population-based studies are being conducted with colleagues from the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research and Imperial College, London.
In addition to research, Kazura has been active in promoting tropical medicine as a scholarly and scientific discipline through participation on numerous NIH and WHO committees and other venues such as editorial service on major tropical disease journals. He is highly committed to the training and education of junior colleagues from the United States and developing countries through NIAID training grants and Fogarty International Center sponsored training grants awarded in collaboration with colleagues from Kenya and Papua New Guinea.