Dr. Richard is an independent investigator in the Infectious and Immune Diseases Research Axis of the Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Laval University, and an associate professor at the department of Microbiology-Infectious Diseases and Immunology of Laval University’s Faculty of Medicine.
His work focuses on malaria, one of the world’s most common infectious diseases, with approximately 300 million cases each year and 500,000 deaths, and thus represents one of the most devastating global public health problems. The lack of an effective vaccine, the emergence of resistance to first-line drugs like chloroquine and antifolates, and recent reports of clinical cases of reduced susceptibility to artemisinine in Cambodia, combined with the small number of suitable new drugs against the malaria parasite, demonstrate the urgent need for the development and implementation of novel intervention strategies in the form of drugs, vector control measures, and an effective vaccine. Indeed, if the trend in malaria prevalence stays on its current upward course, the death rate could double in the next 20 years.
Understanding red blood cell invasion mechanisms by the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum
Invasion of a red blood cell by Plasmodium falciparum merozoites is an essential step in the malaria lifecycle and host response to merozoite antigens are an important component of human malarial immunity. Consequently, the molecular players involved in erythrocyte invasion are key targets for both therapeutic and vaccine-based strategies to block parasite development. Several of these invasion proteins are stored in the apical complex of the merozoite, a structure containing secretory organelles called dense granules, micronemes and rhoptries, and are released at different times during invasion. Because of its essential role, interfering with the generation of the apical complex represents a very attractive target for the design of a new kind of antimalarial. Our studies focus on trying to understand how the parasite directs proteins to the different structures of the apical complex. Understanding this complex process will likely provide a wealth of new targets for the development of strategies to block apical complex generation and to prevent malaria pathogenesis.
Using metabolomics paired with machine learning to identify modes of action of drugs
To sustain the critical research and development process, earlier compound attrition and shorter time-to market are key requirements to help bring cost savings and recover revenue, which are crucial steps in drug development. Integrating the determination of the modes of action of lead compounds in the drug development pipeline is recognized as a critical part in reaching these goals. In collaboration with Dr. Jacques Corbeil from the Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Laval University, and Dr François Laviolette from Laval University’s Computer Sciences Department, we use an innovative approach for drug profiling, based on high-throughput mass spectrometry and new machine learning algorithms to acquire and analyze metabolomic spectra to a depth, cost and scale that has never before been achieved.
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Characterization of a putative Plasmodium falciparum SAC1 phosphoinositide-phosphatase homologue potentially required for survival during the asexual erythrocytic stages.Journal Article
Sci Rep, 7 (1), pp. 12710, 2017, ISSN: 2045-2322.
Malaria Parasite Invasion: Achieving Superb Resolution.Journal Article
Cell Host Microbe, 21 (3), pp. 294-296, 2017, ISSN: 1931-3128.
Export of malaria proteins requires co-translational processing of the PEXEL motif independent of phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate binding.Journal Article
Nat Commun, 7 , pp. 10470, 2016, ISSN: 2041-1723.
Evidence that the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum Putative Rhoptry Protein 2 Localizes to the Golgi Apparatus throughout the Erythrocytic Cycle.Journal Article
PLoS ONE, 10 (9), pp. e0138626, 2015.
Wherever I may roam: protein and membrane trafficking in P. falciparum-infected red blood cells.Journal Article
Mol Biochem Parasitol, 186 (2), pp. 95-116, 2012, ISSN: 0166-6851.
An in vitro co-infection model to study Plasmodium falciparum-HIV-1 interactions in human primary monocyte-derived immune cells.Journal Article
J Vis Exp, (66), pp. e4166, 2012.
Mechanisms of interaction between protozoan parasites and HIV.Journal Article
Curr Opin HIV AIDS, 7 (3), pp. 276-82, 2012, ISSN: 1746-630X.
An EGF-like protein forms a complex with PfRh5 and is required for invasion of human erythrocytes by Plasmodium falciparum.Journal Article
PLoS Pathog, 7 (9), pp. e1002199, 2011, ISSN: 1553-7366.
A genome-wide chromatin-associated nuclear peroxiredoxin from the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.Journal Article
J Biol Chem, 286 (13), pp. 11746-55, 2011, ISSN: 0021-9258.
Super-resolution dissection of coordinated events during malaria parasite invasion of the human erythrocyte.Journal Article
Cell Host Microbe, 9 (1), pp. 9-20, 2011, ISSN: 1931-3128.
- Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec - Université Laval, Subvention, Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec - Université Laval, Centres de recherche affiliés, from 2017-01-01 to 2099-12-31
- Centre de recherche en infectiologie, Subvention, Institutionnel - BDR, BDR - Centres de recherche reconnus, from 1996-06-01 to 2024-11-06
- Dissecting mechanisms of cell division by the malaria parasite, Subvention, Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelles et génie Canada, Subventions à la découverte SD (individuelles et d'équipe), from 2018-04-01 to 2023-03-31
- Exploring the role of phosphoinositides in the trafficking of proteins to the apical complex in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Subvention Projet, from 2019-04-01 to 2024-03-31
Recently finished projects
- 3.2 Comprehensive environmental monitoring and valorisation: From molecules to microorganisms, Subvention, Secrétariat des programmes interorganismes à l’intention des établissements, Fonds d'excellence en recherche Apogée Canada, from 2016-04-01 to 2020-03-31
- Élucidation des mécanismes contrôlant le trafic des protéines vers le complexe apical du parasite de la malaria Plasmodium falciparum, Subvention, Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé, Chercheur-boursier Juniors 1 et 2, Seniors, from 2018-07-01 to 2020-06-30