Emory Professor Retires, Leaves Legacy of Malaria Advances to Improve Global Health

June 2, 2023

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Lisa Newbern

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Mary Galinski headshot
ATLANTA – Mary R. Galinski, PhD, known internationally for her research toward discovering remedies against malaria, as well as advocacy efforts to raise awareness of the enormous worldwide burden of malaria, has retired. She now holds the distinction of Professor Emerita at Emory University.

After beginning her career in malaria research at New York University's School of Medicine from 1983 to 1998, within the Department of Medical and Molecular Parasitology, Dr. Galinski joined Emory University's School of Medicine (SOM), Division of Infectious Diseases, and held various research, teaching and service positions at Emory for close to 25 years. Her work traversed the campus with faculty appointments also within the SOM's Department of Microbiology and Immunology, the Hubert Department of Global Health within the Rollins School of Public Health and Emory's Computer Science Department. Dr. Galinski's laboratory was in the Emory Vaccine Center (EVC) at the Emory National Primate Research Center (EPC).

Throughout her career, Dr. Galinski and her research team investigated malaria from different vantage points. These included studying the genetic, biological and immunobiological mechanisms Plasmodium parasites use to enter and survive in host cells and evade host immune responses while employing cutting-edge technologies to advance research discoveries. During the past 10 years, Dr. Galinski and her team used systems biology approaches to elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms of disease induced by malaria parasites and the immune responses that defend against malarial infections.

Dr. Galinski founded Emory's International Center for Malaria Research Education and Development, and then established the Malaria Host-Pathogen Interaction Center (MaHPIC), a large consortium of researchers with founding members at Emory University, the University of Georgia (UGA), the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to colleagues from six countries where malaria is endemic. The MaHPIC has produced more than 50 peer-reviewed publications in high-impact journals, and elements of this research continue today under the direction of MaHPIC-trained scientists Chester J. Joyner, PhD, at UGA and Regina Joice Cordy, PhD, at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

“We have been fortunate to have Dr. Galinski lead malaria research at Emory University since the opening of the Emory Vaccine Center,” says Rafi Ahmed, PhD, director of the EVC. “She developed a prestigious international program with colleagues from around the world,” adds R. Paul Johnson, MD, director of the EPC. “Dr. Galinski is an accomplished scientist who maintained a successfully funded research program throughout her career and produced more than 125 publications, including review articles and book chapters, with many involving the study of malaria in nonhuman primates,” Johnson continues. The U.S. National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency and the World Health Organization, among others, supported her research, which she published in high-impact scientific journals, including The Lancet, Nature, Science and Cell.

Blue ribbon that says "end malaria"
Emory University recognized Dr. Galinski's contributions by naming her as a 2002 inaugural fellow of the university's prestigious Woodruff Leadership Academy. The university also credited her for her roles with the Malaria Foundation International in establishing awareness-raising Malaria Business Leadership Conferences on campus in 2005 and 2006, and the End Malaria Blue Ribbon Campaign with the support of students in 2006. These efforts are reflected in ongoing progress with many global organizations now working to “End Malaria.”

In retirement, Dr. Galinski plans to stay active enjoying time with family and friends, reading voraciously – for pleasure, and nurturing new hobbies. She will also follow the scientific productivity and successes of the next generation of leading malaria scientists. In 1992, she founded the Malaria Foundation International (MFI), and she has undertaken numerous advocacy and leadership roles throughout her career to help ensure focused attention on this disease and important research advances. The MFI's mission has been to facilitate the development of solutions to the health, economic and social problems caused by malaria. Consistent with this mission, Dr. Galinski recently helped establish MFI Legacy Travel Awards to support the career development of junior-level malaria scientists. These travel award opportunities will be announced later in 2023, in partnership with the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

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The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include the Emory University School of Medicine, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and Rollins School of Public Health; Emory National Primate Research Center; Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. Emory Healthcare includes: The Emory Clinic, Emory-Children's Center, Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Wesley Woods Center, and Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.5 billion budget, 17,600 employees, 2,500 full-time and 1,500 affiliated faculty, 4,700 students and trainees, and a $5.7 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

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