Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
A.M., Ph.D. (Biochemistry). Mentor: Dr. William N. Lipscomb
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard School of Public Health, Mentor: Dyann Wirth
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mentor: Harvey F. LodishBio
Dr. Landfear received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of Chicago. He performed research, supported in part by a National Science Foundation fellowship, on bio-organic chemistry and the mechanism of enzyme action. He then received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Harvard University, working with Nobel laurate William Lipscomb on the structure and function of the model regulatory enzyme aspartate transcarbamylase. He then did 4 years of postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Harvey Lodish in the Department of Biology at MIT, where he studied gene regulation during development in Dictyostelium discoideum. Subsequently, he did additional postdoctoral work at the Harvard School of Public Health, studying gene expression in the parasitic protozoan Leishmania.
Dr. Landfear moved to OHSU as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology 1987 where he initiated studies on the developmental regulation of gene expression in Leishmania parasites. The laboratory soon began to focus on glucose transporters as developmentally regulated genes that played central roles in the physiology of the parasite and in its ability to take up critical nutrients from its hosts. His laboratory subsequently proceeded to study other important transporters from Leishmania and African trypanosomes, including the cloning of the genes for purine nucleoside and nucleobase transporters, purines being critical nutrients that the parasite cannot synthesize and must import from its hosts. Studies on transporters have also led to investigating mechanisms for specialized targeting of integral membrane proteins in these parasites, especially targeting of transporters and channels to the flagellar membrane of Leishmania and African trypanosomes and the roles such flagellar membrane proteins play in sensing the changing environment of the parasites.
Dr. Landfear has also initiated research programs on discovery of novel drug candidates for Leishmania and malaria parasites. Some of these projects target essential parasite transporters, such as the malaria hexose transporter, while others employ ‘phenotypic screening’ to identify compounds that potently inhibit parasite growth with low toxicity toward the mammalian host. This work involves extensive collaborations with chemical biologists and medicinal chemists and the use of high-throughput screening of compound libraries.
Dr. Landfear became Professor in 1999 and University Professor in 2008. He has received several awards, including postdoctoral fellowships from the American Cancer Society and the Medical Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome New Investigator and Burroughs Wellcome Investigator awards in Molecular Parasitology, an NIH Career Development Award, and a Burroughs Wellcome Travel Award. He is director of the NIH training grant entitled ‘Interactions at the Microbe-Host Interface’ that supports training for both pre- and postdoctoral trainees. He is also a previous and current member of the NIH Eukaryotic Pathogens Study Section.