Photo of Jessica Kissinger
Distinguished Research Professor
Director, Institute of Bioinformatics
Ph.D. (1995) Indiana University
107C Paul D. Coverdell Center
706-542-6562

Research Interests 

How do eukaryotic genomes evolve? Our lab is interested in parasite genomics and the biology of genome evolution. The genomes of parasitic eukaryotes are often highly-reduced, devoid of recognizable mobile elements and riddled with intracellular and lateral gene transfers. Our approach is to apply molecular, computational and phylogenetic tools to the analysis of dozens of complete parasite genomes. Projects include the development of tools for data integration, data mining, comparative genomics and the systems biology of host-pathogen interactions. Research focuses on Toxoplasma gondii, as well several species of Cryptosporidium and Plasmodium. Researchers in our group work at the bench, at the computer, or both.

Awards

  • Distinguished Research Professor, University of Georgia, 2017
  • Richard F. Reiff Internationalization Award, University of Georgia, 2016
  • SEC Academic Leadership Development Program Fellow, 2015-2016
  • Faculty Excellence in Diversity Award, University of Georgia, 2013
  • Creative Research Medal, University of Georgia, 2009
  • National Associate, National Research Council, National Academies of Science, 2008
  • Young Investigator Award, 7th International Congress on Toxoplasmosis, 2004

Grant Support 

  • "Enhanced Cryptosporidium reference genome sequence resources," Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • “THoR’s HAMMER: Host Acute Model of Malaria to study Experimental Resilience," DARPA
  • "Cost-effective community access to integrated information for microbial eukaryotic pathogen research", Wellcome Trust 
  • "An Integrated Approach to Understanding Host-Pathogen Interactions - The Malaria Host-Pathogen Interaction Center," NIH
  • “The Eukaryotic Pathogen Bioinformatics Resource Center,” NIH
  • "Resolution of Genome Duplications in Toxoplasma gondii," NIH
  • "Special Visiting Professor in Brazil - Science without Borders Program," CNPq

Editorial

  • Editor, Microbial Genomics (2015 - present)
  • Member, Editorial Board of Academic Editors, PeerJ (2012 – present)
  • Deputy Section Editor, BMC Genomics Eukaryotic Microbes and Viruses Section (2012 – 2013)
  • Associate Editor, BMC Genomics (2009 – 2012)
Curriculum Vitae: 
Selected Publications: 
  • Rodrigo P. Baptista, João Luis R. Cunha, Jeremy DeBarry, Egler Chiari, Jessica C. Kissinger, Daniella C. Bartholomeu and Andréa M. Macedo. Assembly of highly-repetitive trypanosomatid genomes using short reads: The genome of Trypanosoma cruzi III 231 (Submitted)

  • Yan Tang, Chester J. Joyner, Monica Cabrera-Mora, Stacey A. Lapp, Mustafa V. Nural, Suman B. Pakala, Jeremy D. DeBarry, Stephanie Soderberg, the MaHPIC Consortium, Jessica C. Kissinger, Tracey J. Lamb, Mary R. Galinski and Mark P. Styczynski.  Integrative data analysis implicates monocytes in the disruption of erythropoiesis during acute malaria in macaques (Submitted).

  • S. A. Lapp, J-T. Chien, S. Pakala, J.A. Geraldo, G. Batugedara, F. Ay, J. Humphrey, J.D. DeBarry, K.G.  Le Roch, M.R. Galinski and J.C. Kissinger. PacBio assembly of a Plasmodium knowlesi genome sequence with Hi-C correction and manual annotation of the SICAvar gene family (In Press, Parasitology)

  • Nathan M. Chasen#, Beejan Asady, Leandro Lemgruber; Rossiane C. Vommaro, Jessica C. Kissinger, Isabelle Coppens, and Silvia N.J. Moreno.  A GPI-anchored Carbonic Anhydrase-Related Protein of Toxoplasma gondii is Important for Rhoptry Biogenesis and Virulence. 2017. mSphere. 2017 May 17;2(3). pii: e00027-17. doi: 10.1128/mSphere.00027-17

  • Ousman Mahmud and Jessica C. Kissinger. Evolution of the Apicomplexan Sugar Transporter Gene Family Repertoire, International Journal of Genomics, vol. 2017, Article ID 1707231.  2017. doi:10.1155/2017/1707231
  • Cristina Aurrecoechea; Ana Barreto; Evelina Y. Basenko; John Brestelli; Brian P. Brunk; Shon Cade; Kathryn Crouch; Ryan Doherty; Dave Falke; Steve Fischer; Bindu Gajria; Omar S. Harb; Mark Heiges; Christiane Hertz-Fowler; Sufen Hu; John Iodice; Jessica C. Kissinger; Cris Lawrence; Wei Li; Deborah F. Pinney; Jane A. Pulman; David S. Roos; Achchuthan Shanmugasundram; Fatima Silva-Franco; Sascha Steinbiss; Christian J. Stoeckert Jr; Drew Spruill; Haiming Wang; Susanne Warrenfeltz; Jie Zheng. EuPathDB: the eukaryotic pathogen genomics database resource Nucleic Acids Research. 2017 doi: 10.1093/nar/gkw1105

  • Ifeonu OO, Chibucos MC, Orvis J, Su Q, Elwin K, Guo F, Zhang H, Xiao L, Sun M, Chalmers RM, Fraser CM, Zhu G, Kissinger JC, Widmer G, Silva JC. Annotated draft genome sequences of three species of Cryptosporidium: Cryptosporidium meleagridis isolate UKMEL1, C. baileyi isolate TAMU-09Q1 and C. hominis isolates TU502_2012 and UKH1. Pathog Dis. 2016 Oct;74(7)  doi: 10.1093/femspd/ftw080

  • Olukemi O. Ifeonu, Raphael Simon, Sharon M. Tennant, Abhineet S. Sheoran, Maria C. Daly, Victor Felix, Jessica C. Kissinger, Giovanni Widmer, Myron M. Levine, Saul Tzipori and Joana C. Silva. Cryptosporidium hominis Gene Catalog: a resource for the selection of novel Cryptosporidium vaccine candidates. Database (2016) doi: 10.1093/database/baw137

  • Chester J. Joyner, Alberto Moreno, Esmeralda V.S. Meyer, Monica Cabrera-Mora, the MaHPIC  Consortium, Jessica C. Kissinger, John W. Barnwell and Mary R. Galinski. Plasmodium cynomolgi infections in rhesus macaques display clinical and parasitological features pertinent to modeling vivax malaria pathology and relapse infections. Malaria Journal 2016 Sep 2;15(1):451.

  • Jung-Ting Chien, Suman Pakala, Juliana A. Geraldo, Stacey A. Lapp, Jay C. Humphrey, John W. Barnwell, Jessica C. Kissinger and Mary R Galinski. A High-Quality Genome Assembly and Annotation for Plasmodium coatneyi Generated Using Single Molecule Real-Time PacBio Technology. (2016) In Genome Announcements  2016 Sep 1;4(5). pii: e00883-16. doi: 10.1128/genomeA.00883-16.

  • Jessica C. Kissinger. An unsettling picture emerges from population genomic studies of Plasmodium vivax. Nature Genetics 48(8):825-826 (2016) doi:10.1038/ng.3630

  • Nyasa RB, Kimbi HK, Zofou D, DeBarry JD, Kissinger JC, Titanji VP. An evolutionary approach to identify potentially protective B cell epitopes involved in naturally acquired immunity to malaria and the role of EBA-175 in protection amongst denizens of Bolifamba, Cameroon. Malar J. 2016 May 20;15(1):281. doi: 10.1186/s12936-016-1337-z

  • Staffan Bensch, Björn Canbäck, Jeremy D. DeBarry, Thomas Johansson, Olof Hellgren, Jessica C. Kissinger, Vaidas Palinauskas, Elin Videvall and Gediminas Valkiūnas. The genome of Haemoproteus tartakovskyi and its relationship to human malaria parasites. Genome Biology & Evolution, 2016 doi:10.1093/gbe/evw081

  • Hernan Lorenzi, Asis Khan, Michael Behnke, Sivaranjani Namasivayam, L Swapna, Michalis Hadjithomas, Svetlana Karamycheva, Deborah Pinney, B Brunk, James Ajioka, Daniel Ajzenberg, John Boothroyd, Jon Boyle, Marie-Laure Dardé, Maria Alejandra Diaz-Miranda, J Dubey, H Fritz, SOLANGE Gennari, Brian Gregory, Kami Kim, Jeroen Saeij, Chunlei Su, Michael White, Xing-Quan Zhu, Daniel Howe, B Rosenthal, Michael Grigg, John Parkinson, Liang Liu, Jessica Kissinger, David Roos, and L Sibley. Local admixture of amplified and diversified secreted pathogenesis determinants shapes mosaic Toxoplasma gondii genomes"   Nature Commun. 2016 Jan 7;7:10147. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10147

  • Yi Yan, Brian Adam, Mary Galinski, Jessica C. Kissinger, Alberto Moreno and Juan B. Gutierrez. Mathematical model of within-host interaction between a Plasmodium parasite and the immune system. Mathematical BioSciences, 2015 doi:10.1016/j.mbs.2015.10.003

  • Buscaglia, C.A., Kissinger, J.C. and F. Agüero.  Neglected Tropical Diseases in the Post-Genomic Era. Trends in Genetics, 2015 Oct;31(10):539-55. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2015.06.002.

  • Yin W, Kissinger JC, Moreno A, Galinski MR, Styczynski MP. From genome-scale data to models of infectious disease: A Bayesian network-based strategy to drive model development. Mathematical Biosciences, 2015 doi: 10.1016/j.mbs.2015.06.006. 

  • Tomasz Blazejewski, Nirvana Nursimulu, Viviana Pszenny, Sriveny Dangoudoubiyam, Sivaranjani Namasivayam, Melissa A. Chiasson, Kyle Chessman, Michelle Tonkin, Swapna Seshadri, Stacy S. Hung, Stacy M. Ricklefs, Martin J. Boulanger, Steve F. Porcella, Joshua Bridgers, Jessica C. Kissinger, Daniel K. Howe, Michael E. Grigg, and John Parkinson. Systems based analysis of the Sarcocystis neurona genome identifies pathways that differentiate tissue-invading from enteric coccidian parasites. MBio 2015 doi: 10.1128/mBio.02445-14

  • Kevin Lee, Weiwei Yin, Dalia Arafat, Yan Tang, Karan Uppal, Monica Cabrera-Mora, Alberto Moreno, Esmeralda Meyer, Jeremy DeBarry, Suman Pakala, Vishal Nayak, Jessica C. Kissinger, Dean Jones, Mary Galinski, Mark Styczynski, and Greg Gibson. Integration of Transcriptomics and Metabolomics in a Rhesus Macaque Drug Administration Study. Frontiers Cell Dev. Biol., 2014 doi: 10.3389/fcell.2014.00054

  • Jenna Oberstaller, Yoanna Pumpalova, Ariel Schieler, Manuel Llinás, Jessica C. Kissinger. The Cryptosporidium parvum ApiAP2 gene family: insights into the evolution of the apicomplexan AP2 regulatory systems Nucleic Acids Research, 2014 doi: 10.1093/nar/gku500

  • Vivien G. Dugan, Scott J. Emrich, Gloria I. Giraldo-Calderón, Omar S. Harb, Ruchi M. Newman, Brett E. Pickett, Lynn M. Schriml, Timothy B. Stockwell, Christian J. Stoeckert Jr, Dan E. Sullivan, Indresh Singh, Doyle V. Ward, Alison Yao, Jie Zheng, Tanya Barrett, Bruce Birren, Lauren Brinkac, Vincent M. Bruno, Elizabet Caler, Sinéad Chapman, Frank H. Collins, Christina A. Cuomo, Valentina Di Francesco, Scott Durkin, Mark Eppinger, Michael Feldgarden, Claire Fraser, W. Florian Fricke, Maria Giovanni, Matthew R. Henn, Erin Hine, Julie Dunning Hotopp, Ilene Karsch-Mizrachi, Jessica C. Kissinger, Eun Mi Lee, Punam Mathur, Emmanuel F. Mongodin, Cheryl I. Murphy, Garry Myers, Daniel E. Neafsey, Karen E. Nelson, William C. Nierman, Julia Puzak, David Rasko, David S. Roos, Lisa Sadzewicz, Joana C. Silva, Bruno Sobral, R. Burke Squires, Rick L. Stevens, Luke Tallon, Herve Tettelin, David Wentworth, Owen White, Rebecca Will, Jennifer Wortman, Yun Zhang, Richard H. Scheuermann. Standardized Metadata for Human Pathogen/Vector Genomic Sequences PLoS One 2014 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099979

  • Jeremy D. DeBarry and Jessica C. Kissinger. Innovation through duplication in the reduced genomes of twelve parasites PLoS One 2014 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099213

  • Jorge L. Salinas, Jessica C. Kissinger, Dean P. Jones, Mary R. Galinski. Metabolomics in the Fight Against Malaria. Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz 2014 Vol 109 DOI: 10.1590/0074-0276140043

Research Interests Detail: 

Systems biology of host-pathogen interactions, Genome evolution in eukaryotic parasites, Databases, Ontologies, Data mining and Data integration of 'omics (genome, transcriptome, proteome, metabolome, lipidome), clinical, immunological, epidemiological and experimental metadata.