Thomas Edward Wellems, M.D., Ph.D.

NIH Distinguished Investigator

Malaria Genetics Section


TW3 Building, Room 3E10
12735 Twinbrook Pkwy
Rockville, MD 20852


Research Topics

Investigations in the Malaria Genetics Section focus on the determinants of drug resistance, immune evasion, and disease virulence in malaria. Areas of study include the following:

  • Antimalarial drug resistance and factors that affect clinical outcome after treatment
  • Malaria protection conferred by human hemoglobinopathies and other red cell polymorphisms
  • Antigenic variation by Plasmodium falciparum parasites
  • Molecular mechanisms of malaria parasite infectivity and pathogenesis

Research activities on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus are integrated with field studies in Africa and Southeast Asia. Inquiries about predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships as well as Ph.D. studentships in the NIH Graduate Partnership Program are welcome.


Dr. Wellems received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He completed his internal medicine residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1984 he joined the Division of Intramural Research. He has directed the Malaria Genetics Section since 1991 and has served as chief of the Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research since 2002. Dr. Wellems is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, is a past president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and serves on a number of advisory committees for foundations and public-private partnerships, including the Medicines for Malaria Venture.

For a biographical profile of Dr. Wellems, see Davis TH. Profile of Thomas E. Wellems. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Aug 3;107(31):13567-9.

Selected Publications

  1. Sá JM, Kaslow SR, Krause MA, Melendez-Muniz VA, Salzman RE, Kite WA, Zhang M, Moraes Barros RR, Mu J, Han PK, Mershon JP, Figan CE, Caleon RL, Rahman RS, Gibson TJ, Amaratunga C, Nishiguchi EP, Breglio KF, Engels TM, Velmurugan S, Ricklefs S, Straimer J, Gnädig NF, Deng B, Liu A, Diouf A, Miura K, Tullo GS, Eastman RT, Chakravarty S, James ER, Udenze K, Li S, Sturdevant DE, Gwadz RW, Porcella SF, Long CA, Fidock DA, Thomas ML, Fay MP, Sim BKL, Hoffman SL, Adams JH, Fairhurst RM, Su XZ, Wellems TE. Artemisinin resistance phenotypes and K13 inheritance in a Plasmodium falciparum cross and Aotus model. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018;115(49):12513-12518.
  2. Connelly SV, Manzella-Lapeira J, Levine ZC, Brzostowski J, Krymskaya L, Rahman RS, Ellis AC, Amin SN, Sá JM, Wellems TE. Restructured Mitochondrial-Nuclear Interaction in Plasmodium falciparum Dormancy and Persister Survival after Artemisinin Exposure. mBio. 2021;12(3):e0075321.
  3. Esser L, Zhou F, Zeher A, Wu W, Huang R, Yu CA, Lane KD, Wellems TE, Xia D. Structure of complex III with bound antimalarial agent CK-2-68 provides insights into selective inhibition of Plasmodium cytochrome bc(1) complexes. J Biol Chem. 2023;299(7):104860.
  4. Sá JM, Kaslow SR, Moraes Barros RR, Brazeau NF, Parobek CM, Tao D, Salzman RE, Gibson TJ, Velmurugan S, Krause MA, Melendez-Muniz V, Kite WA, Han PK, Eastman RT, Kim A, Kessler EG, Abebe Y, James ER, Chakravarty S, Orr-Gonzalez S, Lambert LE, Engels T, Thomas ML, Fasinu PS, Serre D, Gwadz RW, Walker L, DeConti DK, Mu J, Bailey JA, Sim BKL, Hoffman SL, Fay MP, Dinglasan RR, Juliano JJ, Wellems TE. Plasmodium vivax chloroquine resistance links to pvcrt transcription in a genetic cross. Nat Commun. 2019;10(1):4300.
  5. Deng C, Wu W, Yuan Y, Li G, Zhang H, Zheng S, Li M, Tan R, Wang Y, Nadia J, Feng D, Li D, Wu Z, Xu Q, Li C, Wang Z, Liang Y, Doehl JSP, Su X, Bacar A, Said Abdallah K, Mohamed H, Msa Mliva A, Wellems TE, Song J. Malaria Control by Mass Drug Administration With Artemisinin Plus Piperaquine on Grande Comore Island, Union of Comoros. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2023;10(3):ofad076.

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This page was last updated on Tuesday, August 8, 2023