People

Melanie Shears Spotlight

Meet Melanie!

Beach in Hawaii

 
Dr. Melanie Shears is an Acting Instructor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology who works closely with Sean Murphy and the rest of the Murphy Lab. She is involved in multiple major projects centering around malaria vaccination and immunology, including mice and primate studies as well as vaccine testing and development. In a Nature Communications publication last October (Transcriptomics and proteomics reveal two waves of translational repression during the maturation of malaria parasite sporozoites), Melanie and fellow researchers produced data that indicated that two waves of translation repression is implemented at different points in malaria sporozoite maturation, migration and infection, and thus promotes their successful development and vector-to-host transition – an important finding for understanding how malaria parasites establish infection. Melanie wishes to pursue the most translationally-relevant research questions for malaria vaccine development and accelerate progress towards malaria eradication. 
 

"Working with collaborators over several publications, I helped define the abundance of these proteins parasite surface, identify which sites on these key proteins are modified with sugars, and learn more about how these proteins interact with host factors during parasite invasion. These data contribute to better understanding how malaria parasites establish an infection, and in turn, helps inform the design of improved malaria vaccines” - Melanie Shears, PhD

Melanie poses with her partner Brad

Hailing from Melbourne, then Baltimore during her time at Johns Hopkins University, Melanie is thrilled to be working in the South Lake Union area: “I love the buzz of the city, and seeing the elegant new skyscrapers, the beautiful lake, and spectacular views of the mountains in the distance”. When she’s not near a lab bench, organizing the first ever CERID symposium, or advocating for improved gender parity and diversity amongst CERID leadership and faculty, you can find Melanie taking in PNW wilderness sites, playing boards games and appreciating all things Scandinavian design. 
 

Fast Facts About Melanie!

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia 
 
Skill set: All-rounder; mix of parasitology, biochemistry, animal handling, vaccinology, proteomics, and immunology; with strong public speaking, writing, management and organizational abilities.
 
Favorite contribution to science: “Contributing to new discoveries about the two leading malaria vaccine candidates, the proteins CSP and TRAP. Working with collaborators over several publications, I helped define the abundance of these proteins parasite surface, identify which sites on these key proteins are modified with sugars, and learn more about how these proteins interact with host factors during parasite invasion. These data contribute to better understanding how malaria parasites establish an infection, and in turn, helps inform the design of improved malaria vaccines.”
 
Favorite publication: Swearingen KE, Lindner SE, Shi L, et al. Interrogating the Plasmodium Sporozoite Surface: Identification of Surface-Exposed Proteins and Demonstration of Glycosylation on CSP and TRAP by Mass Spectrometry-Based Proteomics. PLoS Pathog. 2016;12(4):e1005606. Published 2016 Apr 29. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1005606
 
Favorite pathogen: Malaria 
 
Favorite coffee order: Macchiato
 
Favorite Fresh Flours pastry: Chocolate croissant
 
Interests outside of the lab: Board games, computer games, escape rooms, camping and exploring beautiful wilderness sites, architecture and Scandinavian furniture design.
 
What others may not know about you: “There is a significant age gap between me and my three siblings, with the middle siblings currently 22 and 21 and studying at university, and the youngest currently 18 and finishing up high school. They are my favorite people on this earth, and I count myself immensely lucky to be related to such wonderful humans.”