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Welcome to the Cordy Lab at Wake Forest University!

Dr. Regina Joice Cordy, Assistant Professor of Biology

Our lab’s research focuses on the pathogenesis of the protozoan parasite Plasmodium, the etiological agent of malaria. The development of severe malaria is a multi-factorial process that is not well understood. In addition to host genetics and immunity, host factors such as the microbiome, metabolism and diet may explain some of the heterogeneity observed in malaria disease outcome, but much less is known about the role of these factors.

Research

Our lab seeks to understand how variability in the host environment affects the pathogenesis of disease for the pathogen Plasmodium falciparum, the etiological agent of malaria.

We are studying how variation in the metabolic microenvironment impacts the viability, morphology and function of red blood cells (RBC).

We are studying the “bystander effect”, that is, the phenomenon by which uninfected RBCs are lost during a malaria infection at a high rate, despite not being infected by a parasite. The exact cause(s) of the bystander effect are not well understood, but we hypothesize that changes in the metabolic environment of the blood plasma may play a role. We are using ex vivo cell culture systems to study how RBCs are differentially impacted by oxidative stress when variations in the microenvironment are introduced.

We are investigating the role of oxygen on Plasmodium falciparum multiplication rate.

Our work seeks to understand how fluctuations in the levels of oxygen concentration in the microenvironment, which varies across tissue sites in the body, affect the multiplication rate of Plasmodium. While it is well-known that Plasmodium grows best in the laboratory under low oxygen conditions, little is known about the biology of the parasite under higher oxygen conditions. We are characterizing the cellular and molecular mechanism(s) underlying the variability in multiplication rate under different oxygen conditions and using mathematical modeling to predict how this physiological variation may impact a host in vivo.

We are characterizing gut pathogenesis and the gut microbiome during malaria infection.

Systems biology offers the opportunity to decipher complex processes and computationally identify biological factors that are associated with malaria pathogenesis. The goal of this research is to determine how blood metabolites and gut microbes are linked to malaria disease severity. We are performing analyses on samples from longitudinal infection studies of nonhuman primates infected with the malaria parasite Plasmodium. High-throughput `omic technologies such as metabolomics and metagenomics, computational approaches such as data integration and network analyses, and detailed immunofluorescence studies on tissue are being used for the multi-omic profiling of host and commensal microbial factors in the context of malaria pathogenesis. 

People

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

cordy teaching microscopy techniques

Regina Joice Cordy, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor (2018 – present)

Ph.D. in Biological Sciences in Public Health, Harvard University. B.A. in Human Biology, University of Virginia.

RJC is an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at Wake Forest University. Her PhD work at Harvard led to the identification of an enrichment site of malaria’s sexual stages (gametocytes) in the bone marrow. Her postdoctoral work at Emory focused on computational analysis of the microbiome and metabolome of malaria-infected hosts.

In her free time, she enjoys sewing, taking road trips, and relaxing outside on her back porch.

GRADUATE STUDENTS

Heather Colvin

PhD Student (2018 – present)

B.S. in Biochemistry, Campbell University

colvh [at] wfu.edu

Heather’s work focuses on the impact of oxidative stress on cells of the erythroid lineage, with a focus toward how exogenous amino acids may help to alleviate the impact of this stress.

In her free time, Heather enjoys training her dogs, going on hikes, and being outdoors.

Dinah Nahid

PhD Student (2019 – present)

B.A. in Biochemistry, Smith College

nahid19 [at] wfu.edu

Dinah’s work focuses on Plasmodium replication rate under varying oxygen conditions, using a combination of in vitro culture and mathematical modeling approaches.

In her free time, Dinah enjoys cooking, taking walks outside, and taking care of her cat.

Kevin Coffey

Masters Student (2021 – present)

B.S. in Biology, UNC Charlotte

coffk21 [at] wfu.edu

Kevin’s work focuses on studying gene expression patterns in Plasmodium falciparum when grown under varying oxygen conditions.

In his free time, Kevin enjoys baking, navigating his way out of escape rooms, and swimming.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

lab meeting in progress

Irene Bai (WFU Bio/Stats ’22)

Estefania Narvaez (WFU HES ’23)

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

Caroline Thornton

Asmithaa Vinukonda

LAB ALUMNI

Publications

Regina Joice Cordy’s publications are listed under: “Joice R”, “Joice Cordy R” and “Cordy RJ”

Peterson MS, Joyner CJ, Lapp SA, Brady JA, Wood JS, Cabrera-Mora M, Saney CL, Fonseca LL, Cheng WT, Jiang J, Soderberg SR, Nural MV, Hankus A, Machiah D, Karpuzoglu E, DeBarry JD, Tirouvanziam R, Kissinger JC, Moreno A, Gumber S, Voit EO, Gutierrez JB, Cordy RJ, Galinski MR. Plasmodium knowlesi Cytoadhesion Involves SICA Variant Proteins. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2022 Jun 23;12:888496. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2022.888496. PMID: 35811680; PMCID: PMC9260704.

Peterson MS, Joyner CJ, Brady JA, Wood JS, Cabrera-Mora M, Saney CL, Fonseca LL, Cheng WT, Jiang J, Lapp SA, Soderberg SR, Nural MV, Humphrey JC, Hankus A, Machiah D, Karpuzoglu E, DeBarry JD; MaHPIC-Consortium, Tirouvanziam R, Kissinger JC, Moreno A, Gumber S, Voit EO, Gutiérrez JB, Cordy RJ, Galinski MR. Clinical recovery of Macaca fascicularis infected with Plasmodium knowlesi. Malar J. 2021 Dec 30;20(1):486. doi: 10.1186/s12936-021-03925-6. PMID: 34969401; PMCID: PMC8719393.

Cordy RJ. Centering the Voices of Black Parasitologists During America’s Racial Awakening. Trends Parasitol. 2021 May;37(5):361-367. doi: 10.1016/j.pt.2021.02.006. Epub 2021 Feb 24. PubMed PMID: 33640270.

Accorsi EK, Franzosa EA, Hsu T, Joice Cordy R, Maayan-Metzger A, Jaber H, Reiss-Mandel A, Kline M, DuLong C, Lipsitch M, Regev-Yochay G, Huttenhower C. Determinants of Staphylococcus aureus carriage in the developing infant nasal microbiome. Genome Biol. 2020 Dec 11;21(1):301. doi: 10.1186/s13059-020-02209-7.

Colvin HN & Joice Cordy R. Insights into malaria pathogenesis gained from host metabolomics. PLoS Pathogens. 2020. Nov 12;16(11):e1008930. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1008930. Review.

Joice Cordy R. Mining the Human Host Metabolome Toward an Improved Understanding of Malaria Transmission. Front Microbiol. 2020;11:164. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.00164. eCollection 2020. Review.

Joyner CJ, Brito CFA, Saney CL, Joice Cordy R, Smith ML, Lapp SA, Cabrera-Mora M, Kyu S, Lackman N, Nural MV, DeBarry JD, Kissinger JC, Styczynski MP, Lee FE, Lamb TJ, Galinski MR. Humoral immunity prevents clinical malaria during Plasmodium relapses without eliminating gametocytes. PLoS Pathog. 2019 Sep;15(9):e1007974.

Cordy RJ, Patrapuvich R, Lili LN, Cabrera-Mora M, Chien JT, Tharp GK, Khadka M, Meyer EV, Lapp SA, Joyner CJ, Garcia A, Banton S, Tran V, Luvira V, Rungin S, Saeseu T, Rachaphaew N, Pakala SB, DeBarry JD, Kissinger JC, Ortlund EA, Bosinger SE, Barnwell JW, Jones DP, Uppal K, Li S, Sattabongkot J, Moreno A, Galinski MR. Distinct amino acid and lipid perturbations characterize acute versus chronic malaria. JCI Insight. 2019 May 2;4(9). doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.125156. eCollection 2019 May 2.

Peterson MS, Joyner CJ, Cordy RJ, Salinas JL, Machiah D, Lapp SA, Meyer EVS, Gumber S, Galinski MR. Plasmodium vivax Parasite Load Is Associated With Histopathology in Saimiri boliviensis With Findings Comparable to P vivax Pathogenesis in Humans. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2019 Mar;6(3):ofz021. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofz021. eCollection 2019 Mar.

Gardinassi LG, Arévalo-Herrera M, Herrera S, Cordy RJ, Tran V, Smith MR, Johnson MS, Chacko B, Liu KH, Darley-Usmar VM, Go YM, Jones DP, Galinski MR, Li S. Integrative metabolomics and transcriptomics signatures of clinical tolerance to Plasmodium vivax reveal activation of innate cell immunity and T cell signaling. Redox Biol. 2018 Jul;17:158-170. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2018.04.011. Epub 2018 Apr 11.

Gardinassi LG, Cordy RJ, Lacerda MVG, Salinas JL, Monteiro WM, Melo GC, Siqueira AM, Val FF, Tran V, Jones DP, Galinski MR, Li S. Metabolome-wide association study of peripheral parasitemia in Plasmodium vivax malaria. Int J Med Microbiol. 2017 Dec;307(8):533-541. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmm.2017.09.002. Epub 2017 Sep 6.

Uppal K, Salinas JL, Monteiro WM, Val F, Cordy RJ, Liu K, Melo GC, Siqueira AM, Magalhaes B, Galinski MR, Lacerda MVG, Jones DP. Plasma metabolomics reveals membrane lipids, aspartate/asparagine and nucleotide metabolism pathway differences associated with chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium vivax malaria. PLoS One. 2017;12(8):e0182819. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0182819. eCollection 2017.

Coalson JE, Walldorf JA, Cohee LM, Ismail MD, Mathanga D, Cordy RJ, Marti M, Taylor TE, Seydel KB, Laufer MK, Wilson ML. High prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte infections in school-age children using molecular detection: patterns and predictors of risk from a cross-sectional study in southern Malawi. Malar J. 2016 Nov 4;15(1):527. doi: 10.1186/s12936-016-1587-9.

Hsu T, Joice R, Vallarino J, Abu-Ali G, Hartmann EM, Shafquat A, DuLong C, Baranowski C, Gevers D, Green JL, Morgan XC, Spengler JD, Huttenhower C. Urban Transit System Microbial Communities Differ by Surface Type and Interaction with Humans and the Environment. mSystems. 2016 May-Jun;1(3). doi: 10.1128/mSystems.00018-16. eCollection 2016 May-Jun.

Chang HH, Meibalan E, Zelin J, Daniels R, Eziefula AC, Meyer EC, Tadesse F, Grignard L, Joice RC, Drakeley C, Wirth DF, Volkman SK, Buckee C, Bousema T, Marti M. Persistence of Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia after artemisinin combination therapy: evidence from a randomized trial in Uganda. Sci Rep. 2016 May 20;6:26330. doi: 10.1038/srep26330.

Joice R, Frantzreb C, Pradham A, Seydel KB, Kamiza S, Wirth DF, Duraisingh MT, Molyneux ME, Taylor TE, Marti M, Milner DA Jr. Evidence for spleen dysfunction in malaria-HIV co-infection in a subset of pediatric patients. Mod Pathol. 2016 Apr;29(4):381-90. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2016.27. Epub 2016 Feb 26.

Pelle KG, Oh K, Buchholz K, Narasimhan V, Joice R, Milner DA, Brancucci NM, Ma S, Voss TS, Ketman K, Seydel KB, Taylor TE, Barteneva NS, Huttenhower C, Marti M. Transcriptional profiling defines dynamics of parasite tissue sequestration during malaria infection. Genome Med. 2015;7(1):19. doi: 10.1186/s13073-015-0133-7. eCollection 2015.

Joice R, Yasuda K, Shafquat A, Morgan XC, Huttenhower C. Determining microbial products and identifying molecular targets in the human microbiome. Cell Metab. 2014 Nov 4;20(5):731-741. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2014.10.003. Epub 2014 Nov 4. Review.

Joice R, Nilsson SK, Montgomery J, Dankwa S, Egan E, Morahan B, Seydel KB, Bertuccini L, Alano P, Williamson KC, Duraisingh MT, Taylor TE, Milner DA, Marti M. Plasmodium falciparum transmission stages accumulate in the human bone marrow. Sci Transl Med. 2014 Jul 9;6(244):244re5. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3008882.

Shafquat A, Joice R, Simmons SL, Huttenhower C. Functional and phylogenetic assembly of microbial communities in the human microbiome. Trends Microbiol. 2014 May;22(5):261-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2014.01.011. Epub 2014 Mar 5. Review.

Aguilar R, Magallon-Tejada A, Achtman AH, Moraleda C, Joice R, Cisteró P, Li Wai Suen CS, Nhabomba A, Macete E, Mueller I, Marti M, Alonso PL, Menéndez C, Schofield L, Mayor A. Molecular evidence for the localization of Plasmodium falciparum immature gametocytes in bone marrow. Blood. 2014 Feb 13;123(7):959-66. doi: 10.1182/blood-2013-08-520767. Epub 2013 Dec 13.

Joice R, Narasimhan V, Montgomery J, Sidhu AB, Oh K, Meyer E, Pierre-Louis W, Seydel K, Milner D, Williamson K, Wiegand R, Ndiaye D, Daily J, Wirth D, Taylor T, Huttenhower C, Marti M. Inferring developmental stage composition from gene expression in human malaria. PLoS Comput Biol. 2013;9(12):e1003392. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003392. Epub 2013 Dec 12.

Joice R, Lipsitch M. Targeting imperfect vaccines against drug-resistance determinants: a strategy for countering the rise of drug resistance. PLoS One. 2013;8(7):e68940. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068940. Print 2013. PubMed PMID: 23935910; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3723804.