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 steve.taylor@duke.edu

My lab website has a fuller description of my research activities: https://sites.duke.edu/taylorlab/.

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

Publications

Nelson, Cody S., Kelsey M. Sumner, Elizabeth Freedman, Joseph W. Saelens, Andrew A. Obala, Judith N. Mangeni, Steve M. Taylor, and Wendy P. O’Meara. “High-resolution micro-epidemiology of parasite spatial and temporal dynamics in a high malaria transmission setting in Kenya..” Nat Commun 10, no. 1 (December 9, 2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-13578-4.

PMID
31819062
Full Text

Taylor, Steve M., Kelsey M. Sumner, Betsy Freedman, Judith N. Mangeni, Andrew A. Obala, and Wendy Prudhomme O’Meara. “Direct Estimation of Sensitivity of Plasmodium falciparum Rapid Diagnostic Test for Active Case Detection in a High-Transmission Community Setting..” Am J Trop Med Hyg 101, no. 6 (December 2019): 1416–23. https://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.19-0558.

PMID
31674301
Full Text

O’Meara, Wendy Prudhomme, Ryan Simmons, Paige Bullins, Betsy Freedman, Lucy Abel, Judith Mangeni, Steve M. Taylor, and Andrew A. Obala. “Mosquito exposure and malaria morbidity; a micro-level analysis of household mosquito populations and malaria in a population-based longitudinal cohort in western Kenya..” J Infect Dis, October 30, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiz561.

PMID
31665350
Full Text

Deutsch-Feldman, Molly, Ozkan Aydemir, Margaret Carrel, Nicholas F. Brazeau, Samir Bhatt, Jeffrey A. Bailey, Melchior Kashamuka, et al. “The changing landscape of Plasmodium falciparum drug resistance in the Democratic Republic of Congo..” Bmc Infect Dis 19, no. 1 (October 22, 2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-019-4523-0.

PMID
31640574
Full Text

Elphinstone, Robyn E., Andrea M. Weckman, Chloe R. McDonald, Vanessa Tran, Kathleen Zhong, Mwayiwawo Madanitsa, Linda Kalilani-Phiri, et al. “Early malaria infection, dysregulation of angiogenesis, metabolism and inflammation across pregnancy, and risk of preterm birth in Malawi: A cohort study..” Plos Med 16, no. 10 (October 2019). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002914.

PMID
31574087
Full Text

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). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1007770.

PMID
31220180
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. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(18)30732-1.

PMID
30922818
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. https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2512012.

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(18)30066-5.

PMID
29396010
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). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-21615-3.

PMID
29511216
Full Text

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