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Shirley Luckhart

Shirley Luckhart

Professor, Co-Director of Institute for Health in the Human Ecosystem


Life Sciences South, Room 262



Mailing Address

Department of Biological Sciences
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 3051
Moscow, Idaho 83844-3051

Luckhart is an expert in arthropod-borne infectious diseases. Her major focus is malaria, including innate immunity in the mosquito and mammalian host and interventions to block both disease and transmission.

Ph.D., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 1995
M.S., Auburn University, 1990
B.S., University of Florida, 1986

  • Regulation of malaria parasite development in the mosquito host — fundamental cell signaling pathways, innate defenses, biology of the blood feeding interface and metabolic regulation of sporogony.
  • Innate immunity to malaria parasite development in the mammalian host — mechanisms of altered intestinal barrier during parasite infection, regulation of innate responses in the liver and spleen to parasite infection, effects of transmission blocking compounds on disease and transmission.
  • Effects of malaria-induced changes to allergic factors in blood on mosquito physiology – response to host cues, flight and feeding behavior, infection with malaria parasites.
  • Efforts to integrate teaching, research and outreach across plant, animal and human diseases — University of Idaho Institute for Health in the Human Ecosystem.

  • Briggs AM, Hambly MG, Simão-Gurge RM, Garrison SM, Khaku Z, Van Susteren G, Lewis EE, Riffell JA, Luckhart S. Anopheles stephensi Feeding, Flight Behavior, and Infection With Malaria Parasites are Altered by Ingestion of Serotonin. Front Physiol. 2022 Jun 7;13:911097. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2022.911097.
  • Trammell CE, Ramirez G, Sanchez-Vargas I, St Clair LA, Ratnayake OC, Luckhart S, Perera R, Goodman AG. Coupled small molecules target RNA interference and JAK/STAT signaling to reduce Zika virus infection in Aedes aegypti. PLoS Pathog. 2022 Apr 4;18(4):e1010411. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1010411.
  • Céspedes N, Donnelly EL, Lowder C, Hansten G, Wagers D, Briggs AM, Schauer J, Haapanen L, Åbrink M, Van de Water J, Luckhart S. Mast Cell Chymase/Mcpt4 Suppresses the Host Immune Response to Plasmodium yoelii, Limits Malaria-Associated Disruption of Intestinal Barrier Integrity and Reduces Parasite Transmission to Anopheles stephensi. Front Immunol. 2022 Jan 27;13:801120. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2022.801120.
  • Donnelly E, de Water JV, Luckhart S. Malaria-induced bacteremia as a consequence of multiple parasite survival strategies. Curr Res Microb Sci. 2021 May 8;2:100036. doi: 10.1016/j.crmicr.2021.100036.
  • Hun LV, Cheung KW, Brooks E, Zudekoff R, Luckhart S, Riehle MA. Increased insulin signaling in the Anopheles stephensi fat body regulates metabolism and enhances the host response to both bacterial challenge and Plasmodium falciparum infection. Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2021 Dec;139:103669. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2021.103669.
  • Kifude C, Stiffler D, Rockabrand D, Miller R, Parsons E, Ocholla S, Dizon NI, Torrevillas BK, Waitumbi J, Oyieko J, Luckhart S, Stewart VA. Asymptomatic falciparum and Non-falciparum Malarial Parasitemia in Adult Volunteers with and without HIV-1 Coinfection in a Cohort Study in Western Kenya. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2021 Jun 7;105(1):159–66. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.21-0012.
  • Simão-Gurge RM, Thakre N, Strickland J, Isoe J, Delacruz LR, Torrevillas BK, Rodriguez AM, Riehle MA, Luckhart S. Activation of Anopheles stephensi Pantothenate Kinase and Coenzyme A Biosynthesis Reduces Infection with Diverse Plasmodium Species in the Mosquito Host. Biomolecules. 2021 May 29;11(6):807. doi: 10.3390/biom11060807.
  • Rodriguez AM, Hambly MG, Jandu S, Simão-Gurge R, Lowder C, Lewis EE, Riffell JA, Luckhart S. Histamine Ingestion by Anopheles stephensi Alters Important Vector Transmission Behaviors and Infection Success with Diverse Plasmodium Species. Biomolecules. 2021 May 11;11(5):719. doi: 10.3390/biom11050719.
  • Andrews KR, Hunter SS, Torrevillas BK, Céspedes N, Garrison SM, Strickland J, Wagers D, Hansten G, New DD, Fagnan MW, Luckhart S. A new mouse SNP genotyping assay for speed congenics: combining flexibility, affordability, and power. BMC Genomics. 2021 May 24;22(1):378. doi: 10.1186/s12864-021-07698-9.
  • Roberds A, Ferraro E, Luckhart S, Stewart VA. HIV-1 Impact on Malaria Transmission: A Complex and Relevant Global Health Concern. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2021 Apr 12;11:656938. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2021.656938.
  • Tao H, Li L, Liao NS, Schluns KS, Luckhart S, Sleasman JW, Zhong XP. Thymic Epithelial Cell-Derived IL-15 and IL-15 Receptor α Chain Foster Local Environment for Type 1 Innate Like T Cell Development. Front Immunol. 2021 Mar 1;12:623280. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.623280.
  • Stiffler DM, Oyieko J, Kifude CM, Rockabrand DM, Luckhart S, Stewart VA. HIV-1 Infection Is Associated With Increased Prevalence and Abundance of Plasmodium falciparum Gametocyte-Specific Transcripts in Asymptomatic Adults in Western Kenya. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2021 Feb 5;10:600106. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2020.600106.
  • Oringanje C, Delacruz LR, Han Y, Luckhart S, Riehle MA. Overexpression of Activated AMPK in the Anopheles stephensi Midgut Impacts Mosquito Metabolism, Reproduction and Plasmodium Resistance. Genes (Basel). 2021 Jan 19;12(1):119. doi: 10.3390/genes12010119.
  • Luckhart S, Riehle MA. Midgut Mitochondrial Function as a Gatekeeper for Malaria Parasite Infection and Development in the Mosquito Host. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2020 Dec 11;10:593159. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2020.593159.
  • Lee Y, Souvannaseng L, Collier TC, Main BJ, Norris LC, Fofana A, Traoré SF, Cornel AJ, Luckhart S, Lanzaro GC. Evidence for Divergent Selection on Immune Genes between the African Malaria Vectors, Anopheles coluzzii and A. gambiae. Insects. 2020 Dec 18;11(12):893. doi: 10.3390/insects11120893.
  • Torrevillas BK, Garrison SM, McKeeken AJ, Patel D, Van Leuven JT, Dizon NI, Rivas KI, Hathaway NJ, Bailey JA, Waitumbi JN, Kifude CM, Oyieko J, Stewart VA, Luckhart S. Plasmodium falciparum DHFR and DHPS Mutations Are Associated With HIV-1 Co-Infection and a Novel DHPS Mutation I504T Is Identified in Western Kenya. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2020 Nov 26;10:600112. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2020.600112.
  • Taylor DM, Haney RS, Luckhart S. Aquatic Exposure to Abscisic Acid Transstadially Enhances Anopheles stephensi Resistance to Malaria Parasite Infection. Genes (Basel). 2020 Nov 24;11(12):1393. doi: 10.3390/genes11121393.

  • University of Idaho, Alumni Award for Inspirational Mentor, 2021
  • Founders’ Memorial Award, Entomological Society of America, 2018
  • University of Idaho, Alumni Award for Excellence in Mentoring, 2019
  • Career Excellence Award in Medical, Urban, and Veterinary Entomology, Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America, 2017.
  • UC Davis Award for Excellence in Service to Graduate Students, UC Davis Graduate Student Association, 2016.
  • Fellow, American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2014.
  • Outstanding Mentor Award, The Consortium for Women and Research, UC Davis, 2012.
  • Top health invention for 2010, Time Magazine, for collaborative work with University of Arizona on the "malaria-proof mosquito" (Corby-Harris and Drexler et al. 2010, PLoS Pathogens 6(7):e1001003).
  • Justin Morrill Award for Contributions to Graduate Education in Entomology, Virginia Tech, 2004.
  • National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow, United States Army, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, 1995-1998.
  • John Henry Comstock Award for Outstanding Ph.D. in Entomology, Eastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America, 1995.

Shirley Luckhart, professor of entomology, plant pathology and nematology in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and professor of biological sciences in the College of Science is an expert in arthropod-borne infectious diseases. Her background training includes natural resource conservation, entomology, biochemistry, microbiology, parasitology and innate immunity. Luckhart’s work for the past 25 plus years has focused on malaria, a disease that adversely affects poor and underdeveloped countries throughout the tropics. In particular, her lab has studied murine and non-human primate malaria parasite development and transmission, transmission of the human parasite Plasmodium falciparum using cultured parasites and P. falciparum transmission under field conditions in endemic countries. She is particularly interested in innate immunity of host-parasite interactions in the mosquito and mammalian host and developing interventions to block both disease and transmission.


University of Idaho

Physical Address:
E. J. Iddings Agricultural Science Laboratory, Rm 242
606 S Rayburn St

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2329
Moscow, ID 83844-2329

Phone: 208-885-3776