Michal Fried, Ph.D., M.Sc.

Senior Scientist

Molecular Pathogenesis and Biomarkers Section


TW3 Building, Room 3W15
12735 Twinbrook Pkwy
Rockville, MD 20852



Research Topics

Program Description

The Molecular Pathogenesis and Biomarkers Section applies functional genomics and molecular immunoparasitology tools to understand malaria pathogenesis in naturally exposed individuals. Our goal is to identify malaria biomarkers and candidate vaccine antigens that may be useful in developing new interventions. Specifically, we focus on the following:

  1. Study malaria pathogenesis in naturally exposed children in Mali and Tanzania, including defining the adhesive properties of parasites associated with discrete clinical syndromes, and evaluate specific antibody responses that block parasite adhesion. This study is based on our model of pregnancy malaria. In this model, susceptibility to pregnancy malaria results from the unique binding profile of placental parasites that adhere to chondroitin sulfate A (CSA). Over successive pregnancies, women develop specific humoral immunity to placental parasites that are associated with reduced prevalence of infection, reduced parasite densities, and improved pregnancy outcomes.
  2. Identify and evaluate biomarkers for malaria disease and immunity that are urgently needed for vaccine development and monitor interventional trials using proteomic tools.
  3. Evaluate pregnancy malaria vaccine candidates.
  4. Identify parasite targets of pre-erythrocytic immunity to forward the development of a liver-stage vaccine using proteomic tools.


Dr. Fried earned her Ph.D. in molecular parasitology at Hebrew University (Israel) and M.Sc. in biochemistry at Ben-Gurion University (Israel). She made a groundbreaking work on the molecular basis of placental malaria and described the model of protective immunity that is the basis of the current effort to develop a pregnancy malaria vaccine. The model of pregnancy malaria is currently expanded to studies of severe malaria in children carried out in longitudinal studies in Africa.

Selected Publications

  1. Mahamar A, Gonzales Hurtado PA, Morrison R, Boone R, Attaher O, Diarra BS, Gaoussou S, Issiaka D, Dicko A, Duffy PE, Fried M. Plasma biomarkers of hemoglobin loss in Plasmodium falciparum-infected children identified by quantitative proteomics. Blood. 2022;139(15):2361-2376.
  2. Mahamar A, Andemel N, Swihart B, Sidibe Y, Gaoussou S, Barry A, Traore M, Attaher O, Dembele AB, Diarra BS, Keita S, Dicko A, Duffy PE, Fried M. Malaria Infection Is Common and Associated With Perinatal Mortality and Preterm Delivery Despite Widespread Use of Chemoprevention in Mali: An Observational Study 2010 to 2014. Clin Infect Dis. 2021;73(8):1355-1361.
  3. Gonçalves BP, Pérez-Caballero R, Barry A, Gaoussou S, Lewin A, Issiaka D, Keita S, Diarra BS, Mahamar A, Attaher O, Narum DL, Kurtis JD, Dicko A, Duffy PE, Fried M. Natural history of malaria infections during early childhood in twins. J Infect Dis. 2022.
  4. Araj BN, Swihart B, Morrison R, Gonzales Hurtado P, Teo A, Mahamar A, Attaher O, Diarra BS, Gaoussou S, Issiaka D, Dicko A, Duffy PE, Fried M. Antibody Levels to Plasmodium falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1-DBLγ11 and DBLδ-1 Predict Reduction in Parasite Density. mSystems. 2021;6(3):e0034721.
  5. Fried M, Kurtis JD, Swihart B, Pond-Tor S, Barry A, Sidibe Y, Gaoussou S, Traore M, Keita S, Mahamar A, Attaher O, Dembele AB, Cisse KB, Diarra BS, Kanoute MB, Dicko A, Duffy PE. Systemic Inflammatory Response to Malaria During Pregnancy Is Associated With Pregnancy Loss and Preterm Delivery. Clin Infect Dis. 2017;65(10):1729-1735.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Thursday, August 24, 2023