Kayode K. Ojo, PhD
Research Associate Professor
Department of Medicine, Division of Allergy & Infectious Diseases

Faculty Information

Biography

Dr. Ojo's research focuses on studies to better understand the molecular biology of antimicrobial resistance and on the development of novel, robust, safe and affordable antimicrobial agents that can treat debilitating parasitic diseases.

Ongoing studies of calcium-dependent protein kinases of Toxoplasma gondii and Cryptosporidium parvum may facilitate the development of a very safe and effective drug therapy. We have identified a uniquely large pocket in the ATP-binding region of Toxoplasma gondii, Neospora caninum and Cryptosporidium parvum calcium-dependent protein kinase-1 (CDPK-1) that allows the development of inhibitors that have negligible to no effects on human kinases. Our work demonstrates that inhibition of some members of Phylum Apicomplexa's CDPKs prevents invasion of host cells and stops parasite replication.

We are further utilizing the experience and tools developed from our studies on Toxoplasma gondii, Neospora caninum and Cryptosporidium parvum to design a new class of malaria transmission-blocking compounds. These compound series act via inhibition of PfCDPK4 in efficiently blocking Plasmodium parasite infection of mosquitoes, preventing the transmission of malaria to humans. Our studies indicate that this strategy could lead to non-toxic, selective inhibitors that block malaria transmission to mosquitoes, have favorable oral pharmacokinetic properties, and are excellent leads for further drug development. Since CDPK4 genes of all Plasmodium species with database entries are highly conserved, an effective lead compound will likely be useful in blocking the transmission of all 5 spp. known to cause human malaria; a significant public health implication and benefit.

Education & Training: 
PhD Pharmaceutical Microbiology
University of Ibadan
Nigeria
2002
Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Allergy and Infectious Diseases
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
2006-2009
Honors: 
Research Fellowship from the Gesellschaft der Freunde der Kleintierforschung (GdFuF) German Government
ICAAC/Wyeth ID Fellows Grant to the 48th Annual ICAAC/46th IDSA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
2008