Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Prof Peter Preiser

Acting Chair, School of Biological Sciences
Director, NTU Integrated Medical, Biological and Environmental Life Sciences

School of Biological Sciences
College of Science

Phone: (+65)6316-2822/6316-2869
Office: SBS-01n-01/04n-09

  • PhD University of Delaware 1991
  • BA University of Delaware 1986
Professor Peter Rainer Preiser is Associate Provost (Graduate Education) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). He is also concurrently the Director for CN Yang Scholars Programme and Deputy Director for Biosciences Research Centre at NTU.

Prof Preiser obtained his Doctor of Philosophy in Biology from University of Delaware, USA, in 1981 . After his postdoctoral appointment at Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, USA, Prof Preiser joined London’s National Institute for Medical Research as a Senior Research Scientist. In 2003 he left London to join NTU’s School of Biological Sciences (SBS) as an Associate Professor and was later promoted to full Professor in 2009. Prof Preiser still teaches at SBS’ Division of Genomics and Genetics.

Prof Preiser majors in parasitic diseases such as malaria. He has published seminal papers on the ability of malarial parasite to simultaneously invade a host cell and escape host immunity successfully. An active member of the infectious disease inter-disciplinary research group with the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), Prof Preiser has collaborated with top research institutes around the world and has published over 60 top-quality international journal papers. Since joining NTU, Prof Preiser has won more than S$17 million competitive research funds, as Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator.

Prof Preiser has often been invited as an expert reviewer for numerous international funding agencies and international journals including Science, Nature Medicine, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and so on. He has served as an external examiner for Ngee Ann Polytechnic and has organised a number of international meetings in Singapore. Prof Preiser is also a member of the International Scientific Advisory Board for the Hartmut Hoffmann-Berling International Graduate School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Heidelberg, Germany.
Research Interests
My research interests focus on the molecular mechanisms by which the malaria parasite is able to avoid host immunity and adapt to changes in the host cell environment. One of the main problems in developing an efficient malaria vaccine is the ability of the parasite to evade host immune responses. Immune evasion happens both at the level of the infected red blood cell and at the process of invasion, the step at which the parasite infects a new cell.
A key focus area of the lab is to understand the mechanisms on how the malaria merozoite recognizes and penetrates the erythrocyte. To address these questions we have particular focused on the role of the Reticulocyte Binding Protein Homologues (RH) family of proteins which is found in all malaria species and has been implicated on playing a role in immune evasion and parasite virulence. Using both the human parasite Plasmodium falciparum as well as the rodent parasite P. yoelii we have been able to address question relating to mechanisms regulating parasite virulence as well as getting a cleared understanding on how these large proteins mediate their function. An interesting upshot of this work is the possibility of using them as part of a malaria vaccine formulation.
In addition to merozoite invasion the lab has also spend significant effort in elucidating the biological role of the STEVOR and PIR multigene families identified in P. falciparum and P. vivax respectively. While STEVOR is unique to P. falciparum the PIR multigene family is found not only in P. vivax, but also rodent and simian malaria parasites. My research group has focused on developing a range of reagents that allow us to address what the role of STEVOR is in parasite development. We have recently been able to show that STEVOR is highly expressed in patient isolates and may play an additional role in immune evasion. We are now further characterizing how STEOVR functions. The PIR gene family provides a unique opportunity to study antigenic variation in a rodent model and possibly utilize the information gained in this system to understand how these genes may work in the intractable human parasite P. vivax. Currently, our efforts focus on understanding how the pir genes are transcriptionally regulated.
A more recent effort is to gain new insights into how human malaria parasites interact with their host. Until recently most research efforts have focused on using culture adapted parasites but it has become clear that significant information in relation to host parasite interactions are lost in this system. We are therefore interested in using the P. falciparum and P. vivax microarray platform developed here at NTU (in collaboration with Professor Zbynek Bozdech) to investigate differences in the transcriptional profile of parasites obtained directly from patients with different clinical symptoms. This effort has recently given significant new insights into the biology of P. vivax.
Research Grant
  • Academic Research Fund Tier 1 (2015-)
  • Academic Research Fund Tier 1 (2016-) [by MOE]
Current Projects
  • Biodegradable Cardiovascular Implants
  • Characterization of the STEVOR multigene family in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum
  • Comparative transcription analysis to identify novel targets for malaria intervention
  • Development of Scalable Bioinformatics Algorithms and Tools for Emerging Sequencing Technologies
  • Development of malaria antigen library : a tool for identification of correlates of protection use for identification of human correlates of a protection
  • Functional and structural characterization of functional domains of the Reticulocyte Binding Proteins of Plasmodium during merozoite invasion
  • Functional genomic analyses of human malaria parasite resistance to artemisinin
  • Identification of malaria parasite genes important for virulence and survival in the natural host
  • Identifying a Laboratory Marker of Artemisinin Resistance
  • Molecular mechanisms driving the adaptation of Plasmodium knowlesi to humans
  • Physical Characterization of Elastic Properties of Malaria Infested Red Blood Cells
  • Role of Multigene Families in Adaptation and immune evasion fo the malaria parasite
  • Signaling during Plasmodium falciparum merozoite invasion
  • Target deconvolution of antimalarials using in vitro and in vivo models
  • Temporal analysis of processing of the Plasmodium falciparum Reticulocyte Binding Proteins Homologues during merozoite invasion
  • Understanding Molecular Mechanism of Supradamal, a Novel Adamantanyl-Based Antimalarial Drug
  • Understanding the mechanism of splenic clearance of malaria infected red blood cells
  • Understanding the molecular basis of red blood cell selection by malaria merozoites
  • Understanding the role of the spleen in malaria pathogenesis
  • Unstanding the functional role of the STEVOR multigene family in the human parasite Plasmodium falciparum
  • Variant Surface antigens of Plasmodium chabaaudi as a model to study antigenic variation in P. vivax
  • Whole Plasmodium exportome: Identification of survival and virulence factors
Selected Publications
  • Huang X, Liew K, Natalang O, Siau A, Zhang N, Preiser PR. (2013). The Role of Serine-Type Serine Repeat Antigen in Plasmodium yoelii Blood Stage Development.. PLoS ONE, 8(4), e60723.
  • Gunalan K, Gao X, Yap SS, Huang X, Preiser PR. (2013). The role of the reticulocyte-binding-like protein homologues of Plasmodium in erythrocyte sensing and invasion. Cellular Microbiology, 15(1), 35-44.
  • Gruber A, Manimekalai MSS, Preiser PR, Gruber G. (2012). Structural architecture and interplay of the nucleotide- and erythrocyte binding domain of the reticulocyte binding protein Py235 from Plasmodium yoelii. International Journal for Parasitology, 42(12), 1083-1089.
  • Preiser P, Renia L, Cooke BM. (2012). Editorial--Singapore Malaria Network Meeting (SingMalNet) 2012.. International Journal for Parasitology, 42(12), 1047.
  • Tibùrcio M, Niang M, Deplaine G, Perrot S, Bischoff E, Ndour PA, Silvestrini F, Khattab A, Milon G, David PH, Hardeman M, Vernick KD, Sauerwein RW, Preiser PR, Mercereau-Puijalon O, Buffet P, Alano P, Lavazec C. (2012). A switch in infected erythrocyte deformability at the maturation and blood circulation of Plasmodium falciparum transmission stages. Blood, 119(24), e172-80.

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