Malaria

Current MPAC members


Professor Abdoulaye Djimde

Head, Molecular Epidemiology and Drug Resistance Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Mali

Professor Abdoulaye Djimde studied Pharmacy at the University of Mali. After receiving his doctorate in 1988, he started a private pharmacy in Bamako, where he learned first-hand about the huge need for more effective ways of preventing and treating malaria. This experience led him to volunteer as a research assistant at the Malaria Research and Training Center in Bamako, and eventually to work as a graduate student with Professor Christopher V. Plowe at the University of Maryland and Dr Thomas E. Wellems at the US National Institutes of Health, earning his PhD degree in 2001. In his thesis project, he conducted seminal studies describing the first reliable molecular marker for chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria, and proposed a model for monitoring drug resistance in the field using molecular markers, publishing the results in the New England Journal of Medicine and Lancet.

Professor Djimde returned to Mali, where, over the past 15 years, he transformed an initial team of 2 students and a technician into a research group of more than 30 scientists, including clinicians, pharmacists and biologists. With this team and a cadre of collaborators, he conducts field and laboratory studies to explore how mutation events in the genomes of malaria parasites, human hosts and mosquito vectors relate to the outcome of treatment and the spread of drug resistance. Some of his research results form the basis of current malaria treatment guidelines in Mali. Professor Djimde’s accomplishments were recognized in 2001 by a “Chevalier de l’Ordre National” medal from the President of Mali, in 2005 by an International Research Scholarship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, awarded to only 2 African scientists, and in 2008 by a “Prix de la Pharmacie Francophone” from the National Academy of Pharmacy of France, awarded to a francophone pharmacist for scientific productivity.

In the past 15 years, Professor Djimde has also adopted international leadership roles. He was instrumental in founding the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) and served on its Scientific Advisory Board until 2009; he was appointed Chair of the WHO-TDR Multilateral Initiative on Malaria Task Force in 2009; and he was selected as 1 of 2 International Fellows at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in 2012. He currently serves as Coordinator of the West African Network for Clinical Trials of Antimalarial Drugs (WANECAM), Leader of the Plasmodium Diversity Network-Africa (PDNA), and Director of the DELTAS Africa program Developing Excellence in Leadership and Genetics Training for Malaria Elimination (DELGEME). He is frequently invited as a speaker at international scientific conferences and was recently elected as Fellow of the African Academy of Science.