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Shannon Takala Harrison, PhD

Academic Title:

Associate Professor

Primary Appointment:


Secondary Appointment(s):

Epidemiology & Public Health


HSF1, 480

Phone (Primary):

(410) 706-5461


(410) 706-1204

Education and Training

Dr. Takala received her B.S. in Zoology from Brigham Young University in 1999, after which she completed a two-year research fellowship in the Division of Parasitic Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She received her Ph.D. in Molecular Epidemiology from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2006. After completing postdoctoral training in molecular evolution at University of Maryland and Arizona State University, she joined the School of Medicine faculty as part of the Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Career Development Program in 2008.


Dr. Takala’s primary research interests include molecular epidemiology, evolutionary biology, and population genetics/genomics applied toward understanding the evolution of the malaria parasite in response to the human immune system and interventions such as drugs and vaccines. Specific topics of interest include the effect of natural and intervention-induced selection on Plasmodium genetic diversity, associations between parasite and host genetics and disease, emergence and spread of resistance to antimalarial drugs and vaccines, and inference of parasite migration patterns to inform malaria eliminations strategies.

Research/Clinical Keywords

malaria, genomics, molecular epidemiology

Highlighted Publications

Takala-Harrison S, Jacob CG, Arze C, Cummings MP, Silva JC, Dondorp AM, Fukuda MM, Hien TT, Mayxay M, Noedl H, Nosten F, Kyaw MP, Nhien NTT, Imwong M, Bethell D, Se Y, Lon C, Tyner SD, Saunders DL, Ariey F, Mercereau-Puijalon O, Menard D, Newton PN, Khanthavong M, Hongvanthong B, Starzengruber P, Fuehrer HP, Swoboda P, Khan WA, Phyo AP, Nyunt MM, Nyunt MH, Brown TS, Adams M, Pepin CS, Bailey J, Tan JC, Ferdig MT, Clark TG, Miotto O, MacInnis B, Kwiatkowski DP, White NJ, Ringwald P, and Plowe CV. March 2015. Independent emergence of artemisinin resistance mutations among Plasmodium falciparum in Southeast Asia. Journal of Infectious Diseases. 211(5):670-9.

Takala-Harrison S, Clark TG, Jacob CG, Cummings MP, Miotto O, Dondorp AM, Fukuda MM, Nosten F, Noedl H, Imwong M, Bethell D, Se Y, Lon C, Tyner SD, Saunders DL, Socheat D, Ariey F, Phyo AP, Starzengruber P, Fuehrer HP, Swoboda P, Stepniewska K, Flegg J, Arze C, Cerqueira GC, Silva JC, Ricklefs SM, Porcella SF, Stephens RM, Adams M, Kenefic LJ, Campino S, Auburn S, MacInnis B, Kwiatkowski DP, Su XZ, White NJ, Ringwald P, Plowe CV. Genetic loci associated with delayed clearance of Plasmodium falciparum following artemisinin treatment in Southeast Asia. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 110(1):240-5, 2013.

Takala SL, Coulibaly D, Thera MA, Batchelor AH, Cummings MP, Escalante AA, Ouattara A, Traore K, Niangaly A, Djimde AA, Doumbo OK, and Plowe CV. Extreme polymorphism in a vaccine antigen and risk of clinical malaria: implications for vaccine development. Science Translational Medicine. 1(2):2ra5, 2009.

Takala SL and Plowe CV. Genetic diversity and malaria vaccine design, testing, and efficacy: Preventing and overcoming “vaccine resistant malaria.” Parasite Immunology. 31(9): 560-573, 2009.

Takala SL, Coulibaly D, Thera MA, Dicko A, Smith DL, Guindo AB, Kone AK, Traore K, Ouattara A, Djimde A, Sehdev P, Lyke K, Diallo DA, Doumbo OK, and Plowe CV. Dynamics of polymorphism in a malaria vaccine antigen at a vaccine-testing site in Mali. PLoS Medicine. 4(3):e93, 2007.

Takala SL, Escalante AA, Branch OH, Kariuki S, Biswas S, Chaiyaroj SC, and Lal AA. Genetic diversity in the Block 2 region of the Merozoite Surface Protein 1 (MSP-1) of Plasmodium falciparum: additional complexity and selection and convergence in fragment size polymorphism. Infection, Genetics, and Evolution. 6(5):417-24, 2006.