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Global Parasitology Seminars

Parasitology Seminar Series

Michael White, PhD, "Development of an ex vivo model of Toxoplasma recrudescence"


Title: "Development of an ex vivo model of Toxoplasma recrudescence”

Michael White PhD, Parasitology Seminar SeriesSpeaker: Michael White, PhD
Distinguished USF Health Professor
Department of Global Health
Center for Drug Discovery and Innovation (CDDI)
College of Public Health
University of South Florida

Abstract: Reactivation of toxoplasmosis is a significant health threat to people chronically infected with this parasite and is life-threatening to infected individuals that are or become immunocompromised. Millions of people face this threat as it is estimated one third of human populations are infected with this pathogen. Recrudescence of the Toxoplasma bradyzoite tissue cyst is the cause of toxoplasmosis reactivation, which can not be prevented as there is no current treatment that eliminates the dormant tissue cyst in chronically infected individuals.

Approaches to find therapeutic solutions to treat and prevent chronic toxoplasmosis have suffered from limited accessibility to the relevant Toxoplasma stages and a lack of accurate in vitro developmental models.  The loss of developmental competency in vitro is exacerbated in current protocols producing transgenic strains, which is major impediment to understanding the molecular basis of tissue cyst reactivation. 

We will discuss a new ex vivo model of bradyzoite recrudescence that has revealed native bradyzoite recrudescence to be a complex process involving multiple developmental outcomes.  We will introduce new approaches to genetic modification of Toxoplasma that produce in vivo bradyzoites and preserve developmental competency. 

Bio: Michael White received his BS from San Jose State University in San Jose, California, and his PhD from Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.  He completed postdoctoral training at Washington University in Seattle where he was funded by American Cancer Society and National Institutes of Health fellowships.  Dr. White received his first faculty appointment at Washington University, before transferring to Montana State University where he rose through the ranks to full Professor.  Dr. White moved his laboratory to the University of South Florida in 2009 where he was appointed Distinguished USF Health Professor in 2016.  Research in the White laboratory is focused on how malaria-related protozoa, grow and develop in the human host using the model organism Toxoplasma gondiiT. gondii is an environmental pathogen of the central nervous system (class B bioterrorism agent), which causes an often fatal disease in people who are immunocompromised including those suffering AIDS.  Projects focus on how these parasites replicate within their host cell and how persistent infections are maintained and reactivated. 

Date: Monday, September 20, 2021
Time: 12-1 pm

Location: Hill Pavilion, Room 132
University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
380 S University Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104

You can also attend virtually. Virtual Link: Zoom

Questions? Please contact Sue Waddington-Pilder if you have questions (

Date and Time


Susan Waddington-Pilder