Assistant Professor of Immunology and Infectious Disease
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Daniel Neafsey received his bachelor’s degree at Loyola University Chicago and completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University. Before joining the faculty at Harvard, he led a research group at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where he continues to serve as associate director of the Genomic Center for Infectious Disease.
Neafsey’s research group studies vector-borne disease from an evolutionary genomics perspective, with an emphasis on Plasmodium malaria parasites and the Anopheles mosquitoes that transmit malaria. Malaria is an ancient human disease, and the genomes of humans, parasites, and Anopheles mosquitoes bear signatures of a shared co-evolutionary history. By studying the historic and ongoing evolutionary adaptations in parasite and vector genomes, Neafsey aims to improve understanding of basis disease biology and epidemiology, with a goal of applying this knowledge to the development of more effective disease intervention.
Neafsey’s current projects involve the application of comparative genomic and population genetic analyses to Plasmodium malaria parasites and Anopheles mosquitoes to study population structure, natural selection, and genomic factors underlying parasite and vector phenotypes that impact public health. Neafsey’s interests also include the use of pathogen polymorphism data to inform vaccine design and understand vaccine efficacy, analysis of drug resistance mechanisms and evolution, the use of clinical genotyping data to interpret disease transmission dynamics, and the development of new genomic protocols and informatics tools to address key questions in infectious disease and global health.
While at the Broad Institute, Neafsey received the Broad’s inaugural Excellence Award in Science/Engineering in 2013 and was named an Institute Scientist in 2017.
Neafsey DE, Juraska M, [63 authors]. Genetic diversity and protective efficacy of the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine. N Engl J Med. 2015 Nov 19;373(21):2025-37.
Neafsey DE, Waterhouse R., [117 authors], Besansky NJ. 2015. Highly evolvable vectors: The genomes of 16 Anopheles mosquitoes. Science. 347(6217):1258522.
Pelleau S, Moss EL, Dhingra SK, Volney B, Casteras J, Gabryszewski SJ, Volkman SK, Wirth DF, Legrand E, Fidock DA, Neafsey DE, Musset L. Adaptive evolution of malaria parasites in French Guiana: Reversal of chloroquine resistance by acquisition of a mutation in pfcrt. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Sep 15;112(37):11672-7.
Faculty webpage: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/daniel-neafsey/