47557-Absalon, Sabrina

Sabrina Absalon, PhD

Assistant Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology

Phone 317-274-7806
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
635 Barnhill Drive MS A422

Indianapolis, IN 46202
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Dr. Sabrina Absalon received her B.S. in Biochemistry and Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology from the University Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris, France. Her graduate work in Dr. Philippe Bastin's Lab at Pasteur Institute Paris focused on studying flagellum assembly and function in the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei. She then moved to Boston for her first postdoctoral training in Dr. Anna Krichevsky's Lab at the Harvard Institute of Medicine to determine the contribution of microRNAs to Alzheimer's disease progression.

In 2011, she went back to parasitology and joined a research group led by Dr. Jeffrey Dvorin at Boston Children's Hospital, where she studied the molecular pathogenesis of malaria infection. She joined the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Indiana University School of Medicine in October 2019, where she is currently an Assistant professor.

Key Publications

Absalon S, Blomqvist K, Rudlaff RM, DeLano TJ, Pollastri MP, Dvorin JD. Calcium-Dependent Protein Kinase 5 Is Required for Release of Egress-Specific Organelles in Plasmodium falciparumMBio2018 Feb 27;9(1)doi: 10.1128/mBio.00130-18. PubMed PMID: 29487234; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5829822.
Robbins JA, Absalon S, Streva VA, Dvorin JD. The Malaria Parasite Cyclin H Homolog PfCyc1 Is Required for Efficient Cytokinesis in Blood-Stage Plasmodium falciparumMBio2017 Jun 13;8(3)doi: 10.1128/mBio.00605-17. PubMed PMID: 28611247; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5472185.
Sanz S, López-Gutiérrez B, Bandini G, Damerow S, Absalon S, Dinglasan RR, Samuelson J, Izquierdo L. The disruption of GDP-fucose de novo biosynthesis suggests the presence of a novel fucose-containing glycoconjugate in Plasmodium asexual blood stages. Sci Rep2016 Nov 16;6:37230doi: 10.1038/srep37230. PubMed PMID: 27849032; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5110956.
Absalon S, Robbins JA, Dvorin JD. An essential malaria protein defines the architecture of blood-stage and transmission-stage parasites. Nat Commun2016 Apr 28;7:11449doi: 10.1038/ncomms11449. PubMed PMID: 27121004; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4853479.
Raj DK, Nixon CP, Nixon CE, Dvorin JD, DiPetrillo CG, Pond-Tor S, Wu HW, Jolly G, Pischel L, Lu A, Michelow IC, Cheng L, Conteh S, McDonald EA, Absalon S, Holte SE, Friedman JF, Fried M, Duffy PE, Kurtis JD. Antibodies to PfSEA-1 block parasite egress from RBCs and protect against malaria infection. Science2014 May 23;344(6186):871-7doi: 10.1126/science.1254417. PubMed PMID: 24855263; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4184151.

Complete List of Published Work in My Bibliography:  


Titles & Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology
  • Assistant Professor of Microbiology & Immunology
  • Education
    2007 PhD Pierre and Marie Curie University
    2003 MSC Pierre and Marie Curie University
    2001 BS Pierre and Marie Curie University
  • Research

    Coupling nuclear division cycles with cell growth:

    During the asexual stage of the life cycle, Plasmodium falciparum replicates via schizogony, a division mode that can be divided into a growth phase and a budding phase.

    During the growth phase, the parasite undergoes multiple asynchronous rounds of mitosis with segregation of uncondensed chromosomes followed by nuclear division with an intact nuclear envelope. The budding phase occurs when the multi-nucleated syncytium is subjected to an asynchronous round of karyokinesis, coinciding with the segmentation of dozens of daughter cells known as merozoites.

    • How does each nucleus cycle independently?

    • How do nuclei maintain independent cell cycle stages within a common cytoplasm?

    • What evolutionary advantage does asynchronous mitosis bring to Plasmodium spp asexual replication?

    The molecular replicative machinery utilized by the Plasmodium parasite, as well as whether the parasite uses local and global checkpoints to control the timing of DNA replication and nuclear division, remain a major gap of knowledge in the biology of the parasite.

    Nuclear envelope formation & shaping:

    The eukaryotic genome is housed by a double lipid bilayer called the nuclear envelope (NE). During schizogony, the NE remains intact before chromosome segregation. This form of division is termed closed mitosis, and it is considered to be the most ancient mechanism of eukaryotic cell division. Plasmodium falciparum begins mitosis with an intact NE and assembles an intranuclear mitotic spindle. The formation of mitotic spindles causes the most dramatic rearrangements of nuclear shape when the spherical nucleus adopts an elongated dumbbell shape.

    ?To understand the dynamics of the NE during closed mitosis, our laboratory studies multiple inducible knockdown parasite lines with a defect in NE, including one mutant with the loss of its NE during replication (see figure). Also, we are mapping the proteome of the outer and inner nuclear membrane utilizing the method of proximal-dependent labeling of proteins.

    ?An understanding of the molecular mechanism of cell division in malaria parasites could reveal vulnerable targets for antimalarials. Also, a mutation in NE proteins results in a broad spectrum of human diseases, including cancer, therefore studying the divergent mitotic mechanism of Plasmodium spp might provide new insights on common properties of NE biology.?

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