Sean Murphy, MD, PhD
University of Washington Medical Center
1959 NE Pacific, Box 357110
Seattle, WA 98195-357110
Dr. Murphy’s work focuses on the immune response to complex infectious diseases and on diagnostic test development. The major focus of the laboratory is malaria infection of humans and animal models by Plasmodium parasites. There is currently no approved vaccine to prevent malaria infection. However, for the past 40 years, it has been known that humans and animals can be protected against later infections when experimentally immunized with repeated doses of attenuated Plasmodium sporozoites, the form of the parasite that is transmitted by female Anopheles mosquitoes. The protective immune responses induced by these kind of immunizations remain largely unknown because it is extremely difficult to simultaneously monitor responses against hundreds of potential antigens. Using novel high-throughput T cell screening technologies developed in collaboration with Dr. Brad Stone, Dr. Murphy’s group studies the complex poly-specific T cell repertoire induced by Plasmodium sporozoites using mouse models of malaria infection. The laboratory is also exploring novel methods to experimentally induce broadly protective immune responses against malaria using synthetic biology-based T cell vaccines.
Dr. Murphy is Assistant Director of the clinical microbiology laboratory in Laboratory Medicine at the University of Washington Medical Center, which provides testing for infectious diseases. Dr. Murphy is also a Member of the UW-based Center for Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases and is a Clinical Investigator with the Malaria Clinical Trials Center at Seattle Biomedical Research Institute.