Steve M Taylor, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine
Assistant Research Professor of Global Health
Campus mail 303 Research Drive, Sands Building #321a, Durham, NC 27710
Phone (919) 684-5815
Email address

My lab website has a fuller description of my research activities:

I am principally interested in field and translational studies of falciparum malaria. These interests fall along several lines:

1) Epidemiology. Falciparum malaria is an immense problem whose contours are difficult to discern in hyperendemic regions like much of sub-Saharan Africa. I am involved in field applications of molecular genetic techniques to better define the burden of parasitemia in endemic areas and the partitioning and flux of parasite populations. We are working on techniques to generate and parse high-dimensional genomic data to better understand the structure of these parasite populations. Ultimately the goal of these investigations is to inform measures to control malaria and contain distinct parasite populations.

2) Pathogenesis. Severe malaria is a lethal disease; it is the cause of most of the 400,000 malaria deaths annually in African children. In these children, sickle-trait hemoglobin confers >90% protection from severe, life-threatening malaria. Several lines of evidence support the hypothesis that this dramatic protection results from the inability of the parasite to export parasite-derived proteins to the surface of the infected human red blood cell. We are investigating the molecular genetic correlates of this phenomenon in in vitro and ex vivo systems in order to identify mechanisms by which sickle-trait neutralizes the parasite. By leveraging this naturally-occurring model of malaria protection we hope to ultimately identify druggable targets for future antiparasitic or adjunctive therapies.

3) Diagnostics. In the field, clinical practice guidelines now recommend parasitologic diagnosis of malaria prior to treatment. Parasite detection can be confirmed by traditional microscopy or by rapid immunochromatographic tests, but each of these approaches is potentially undermined by limits of detection, operator error, and the monoplex nature of parasite testing in settings with complex pathogen epidemiology. With collaborators in Biomedical Engineering at the Pratt School of Engineering, we are developing PCR-free multiplex detection assays that utilize robust, rapid, and scalable nanoengineered platforms that target multiple bloodborne tropical pathogens in a single assay. The ultimate goal of this project is to enhance the clinical management of febrile illness in the tropics.

4) Prevention. In malaria-endemic Africa, high-risk groups that suffer disproportionate malaria morbidity clearly benefit from antimalarial chemoprevention; these groups include pregnant women across Africa and children under 5 in West Africa. African children with sickle-cell anemia also suffer significant malaria morbidity, but chemoprevention regimens that are recommended for them lack a compelling evidence base. With partners in Malawi and Kenya, we are testing new approaches to malaria chemoprevention in both pregnant women and in children with sickle-cell anemia. The goal of these projects is to enhance public health guidelines for the routine care of these high-risk groups and reduce the burden of malaria in African children.

The ultimate goals of these translational studies of falciparum malaria in children and pregnant women is to integrate epidemiologic, clinical, and molecular genetic models of disease in order to inform the rational design of medical and public health interventions to reduce the awful burden of malaria.

Education and Training

  • Gillings School of Global Public Health - Postdoctoral Fellow, Department Of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2008 - 2012
  • Fellowship, Infectious Diseases & International Health, Duke University School of Medicine, 2007 - 2012
  • Internship/Residency, Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, 2004 - 2007
  • M.D., Duke University School of Medicine, 2004
  • M.P.H., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2003
  • B.S., Duke University, 1998


Saelens, Joseph W., and Steve M. Taylor. “Born to sweet delight: Using natural models of malaria protection to understand and neutralize P. falciparum pathogenesis..” Plos Pathog 15, no. 6 (June 2019).

Full Text

Eijk, Anna Maria van, David A. Larsen, Kassoum Kayentao, Gibby Koshy, Douglas E. C. Slaughter, Cally Roper, Lucy C. Okell, et al. “Effect of Plasmodium falciparum sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine resistance on the effectiveness of intermittent preventive therapy for malaria in pregnancy in Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis..” Lancet Infect Dis 19, no. 5 (May 2019): 546–56.

Full Text

Ngo, H. T., P. Strobbia, P. Vohra, E. Freedman, A. S. De Silva Indrasekara, W. T. Lee, S. M. Taylor, and T. Vo-Dinh. “A nanophotonic-based assay for point-of-care medical diagnostics of malaria in low and middle income countries.” In Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging  Proceedings of Spie, Vol. 10869, 2019.

Full Text

Rogerson, Stephen J., Meghna Desai, Alfredo Mayor, Elisa Sicuri, Steve M. Taylor, and Anna M. van Eijk. “Burden, pathology, and costs of malaria in pregnancy: new developments for an old problem..” Lancet Infect Dis 18, no. 4 (April 2018): e107–18.

Full Text

Ngo, Hoan T., Elizabeth Freedman, Ren Abelard Odion, Pietro Strobbia, Agampodi Swarnapali De Silva Indrasekara, Priya Vohra, Steve M. Taylor, and Tuan Vo-Dinh. “Direct Detection of Unamplified Pathogen RNA in Blood Lysate using an Integrated Lab-in-a-Stick Device and Ultrabright SERS Nanorattles..” Sci Rep 8, no. 1 (March 6, 2018).

Full Text

Sumner, Kelsey, Steve Taylor, Elizabeth Freedman, Andrew Obala, and Wendy O’Meara. “PLASMODIUM FALCIPARUM HAPLOTYPE INFERENCE FROM AMPLICON DEEP SEQUENCING TO IDENTIFY MICRO- SCALE PARASITE POPULATION MIXING.” In American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 99:551–551. AMER SOC TROP MED & HYGIENE, 2018.


Korwa, Sarah, Joseph Kirui, Casey Silver, Sheila Clapp, Wendy O’Meara, Festus Njuguna, and Steve Taylor. “A CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDY OF HEMATOLOGIC AND INFECTIOUS MORBIDITY IN KENYAN CHILDREN WITH SICKLE CELL ANEMIA.” In American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 99:601–601. AMER SOC TROP MED & HYGIENE, 2018.


Deutsch-Feldman, Molly, Ozkan Aydemir, Margaret Carrel, Nicholas Brazeau, Samir Bhatt, Jeffrey Bailey, Melchior Kashamuka, et al. “SPATIAL EPIDEMIOLOGY OF PLASMODIUM FALCIPARUM DRUG RESISTANCE IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO.” In American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 99:321–321. AMER SOC TROP MED & HYGIENE, 2018.


Nsanzabana, Christian, Frederic Ariey, Hans-Peter Beck, Xavier C. Ding, Edwin Kamau, Sanjeev Krishna, Eric Legrand, et al. “Molecular assays for antimalarial drug resistance surveillance: A target product profile..” Plos One 13, no. 9 (2018).

Full Text

Miller, Robin H., Nicholas J. Hathaway, Oksana Kharabora, Kashamuka Mwandagalirwa, Antoinette Tshefu, Steven R. Meshnick, Steve M. Taylor, Jonathan J. Juliano, V Ann Stewart, and Jeffrey A. Bailey. “A deep sequencing approach to estimate Plasmodium falciparum complexity of infection (COI) and explore apical membrane antigen 1 diversity..” Malar J 16, no. 1 (December 16, 2017).

Full Text