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Jessica Kissinger

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Distinguished Research Professor
Ph.D. (1995) Indiana University

Research Interests 

How do eukaryotic and organellar genome sequences evolve? Our lab is interested in parasite genomics and the biology of genome evolution. The nuclear and organellar genome sequences 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 complete parasite genome sequences. Projects include the development of tools for data integration, data mining, comparative genomics and the systems biology of host-pathogen interactions. Kissinger is a member of the NIH/NIAID Bioinformatic Resource Center, leadership team. Research focuses on the apicomplexan protist pathogens, Toxoplasma gondii and several species of Cryptosporidium and Plasmodium. Researchers in our group work at the bench, the computer, or both.

Kissinger Lab Website

Honors & Awards

  • Lamar Dodd Creative Research Award, UGA, 2024
  • Fulbright US Scholar, Fulbright Scholar Program, 2022
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2021
  • Fellow, American Society for Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, 2020
  • Distinguished Research Professor, UGA, 2017
  • Richard F. Reiff Internationalization Award, UGA, 2016
  • SEC Academic Leadership Development Program Fellow, 2015-2016
  • Faculty Excellence in Diversity Award, UGA, 2013
  • Creative Research Medal, UGA, 2009
  • Kavli Fellow, Frontiers of Science 2005-2006, 2008

Select Professional Service

  • Deputy Director, African Centers of Excellence Global Council (ACE) (2021 – Present)
  • Global Council Member, NIAID ACE (2019 – 2021)
  • Director, Institute of Bioinformatics (IOB), (2010-2019)
  • Scientific Advisory Group, Institute Pasteur de Tunis, EU2020 PHINDaccess (2018 – 2022)
  • Editor, Microbial Genomics (2015 - 2020)
  • Member, Editorial Board of Academic Editors, PeerJ (2012 – 2020)
  • External Advisory Committee, Louisiana NIH INBRE (2011 – 2017)
Visit Kissinger's  ORCID
  • 1989     A.B. cum laude University of Chicago
  • 1995     PhD Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology, Indiana University, Mentor: Rudy Raff
  • 1995-1996 NSF/Sloan post-doctoral Fellow NIH/NIAID/LPD, Mentor: Tom McCutchan
  • 1996-1998 CNPq post-doctoral Fellow CPqRR-FIOCRUZ, Brazil
  • 1998-2002 Post-doctoral Fellow & Lecturer UPENN, Mentor: David Roos
Research Interests:

Systems biology of host-pathogen interactions, Nuclear and organellar 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.  


Grant Support 

  • NIH 75N93019R00028, “Center for Influenza Disease and Emergence Research (CIDER)” (2021-2028) Role: Co-I
  • NIH R01AI148667, “Capturing the genomic variation present in Cryptosporidium and cryptosporidiosis” (2020-2024) Role: Joint-PI with Travis Glenn
  • "Bioinformatics resources for kinetoplastid organisms and their hosts", Wellcome Trust (2020-2025), Role: Co-applicant with Andy Jones & David Roos 
  • “Integrated Informatics Resources for Eukaryotic Microbial Pathogens and Invertebrate Vectors of Disease” i.e., NIH/NIAID (2019-2024), Role: Co-I  
Selected Publications:
Recent Publications (*= Graduate student; # = Undergraduate student)
Articles Featuring Jessica Kissinger

Jessica Kissinger, Distinguished Research Professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences’ genetics department and former director of the UGA Institute of Bioinformatics, has focused her interdisciplinary career on the question of…

Dr. Jessica Kissinger not only studies deadly pathogens like malaria and Cryptosporidium (a waterborne parasite), but also is a driving force behind worldwide, groundbreaking collaborations on novel databases. During her time at UGA, she has received nearly $40…

In a tradition stretching back to 1874, AAAS Fellows are elected annually by the AAAS Council for their extraordinary achievements leading to the advancement of science. 

University of Georgia geneticist Jessica Kissinger has been elected a 2020 American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Fellow. Kissinger’s research focuses on parasite genomics and the biology of genome evolution.

Genetics scientist was featured in the Columns:

A genome database team led by University of Pennsylvania and UGA scientists has been awarded a new contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases worth $4.3 million in 2014-2015…

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