Kristina Burrack

Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine and Investigator
Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute

Research Summary

The goal of the Burrack lab is to develop a comprehensive understanding of host-pathogen interactions in order to enhance immunity and limit immune-mediated pathology with an emphasis on investigating the pathogenesis of malaria and other pathogens of global health importance. Malaria remains a major public health problem despite substantial efforts to reduce its associated morbidity and mortality. There are still around 200 million cases and over 400,000 deaths annually, with young children and pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa experiencing the greatest burden. Our laboratory seeks to improve our knowledge of the immune response to Plasmodium infection and vaccination, which will inform the development of host-targeted therapeutics and vaccines to promote an effective immune response. We combine translational research and animal models of Plasmodium infection and vaccination to investigate the immune response to malaria. We investigate interactions between innate and adaptive immune cells during Plasmodium infection, with a focus on natural killer (NK) cells, T cells, and B cells. This is a highly tractable system to investigate the pathogenesis of Plasmodium infection and vaccination and test immunomodulatory therapeutics against this deadly disease.