Justin Shaw


Justin Shaw





Justin is pursuing a major in biomedical sciences and a minor in music. He has worked in a molecular microbiology lab focusing on the intraerythrocytic life cycle of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. He is currently in the process of completing an undergraduate thesis involving the specific inhibitory effects of a compound with novel mechanism of action on P. falciparum. In addition to his research, Justin is also the Lead Tutor for the Student Academic Resource Center here at UCF tutoring Statistical Methods I. Justin also enjoys playing the saxophone with one of UCF’s many bands throughout the year. Upon graduation, Justin hopes to attend medical school (M.D. or M.D./Ph.D.) and potentially complete a graduate degree simultaneously. He hopes to one day become a physician-scientist and continue infectious disease research as well as teaching.

Faculty Mentor

Debopam Chakrabarti, Ph.D. Professor & Head Molecular Microbiology Division Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences College of Medicine, UCF

Undergraduate Major

Biomedical Sciences, Pre-professional concentration

Future Plans

Upon completion of medical school / residency / graduate school, Justin would like to work as a physician-scientist conducting meaningful research in the area of infectious disease as well as treating patients.



MO3: an alkaloid-derived synthetic compound exhibits antimalarial activity with a novel mechanism of action as an inhibitor of merozoite egress

Principal Investigator:

Debopam Chakrabarti, Ph.D.

Professor & Head

Molecular Microbiology Division

Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences

College of Medicine, UCF


Multiple drug-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum, the most lethal of the Plasmodium species that cause malaria, have become more prevalent in recent decades. Nearly 500,000 people die each year as a result of malaria, and the common antimalarials in current use are becoming increasingly less effective as drug resistance becomes more widespread. In the pursuit of novel antimalarials that are effective in multidrug-resistant malaria, this study aims to elucidate the mechanism of action by which an alkaloid-derived synthetic compound MO3 inhibits P. falciparum.

To achieve this aim, we will determine asexual life cycle stage specificity of action. We will also use conditional knockdown reverse genetic approach to interrogate parasite protein(s). This would involve perturbation of a gene whose expression is involved in egress followed by assessment of biological susceptibility to MO3. Additionally, we will use forward

chemogenomic approach to determine the cellular target of MO3 through raising parasites

resistant to MO3 followed by whole genome analysis.

The knowledge gained from this study will contribute to better understand the mechanism of action of a chemical compound with novel mechanism of action which could be exploited to develop future drug leads for malaria. Furthermore, MO3 could also be used as a probe to delineate molecular mechanism of parasite egress from erythrocytes.


Infectious Disease, Molecular Microbiology, Parasitology General: Life Sciences, Health Sciences

Justin Shaw