Shahid Karim

Associate Professor

Teaching Interests

Human Parasitology

Medical Entomology

Invertebrate Physiology

Introduction to Bioinformatics

Molecular Biology Laboratory


Research Interests

Research in my laboratory focuses on the arthropod vectors of deadly infectious disease agents and attempts to use functional genomics tools to identify tick-derived proteins required for prolonged blood-feeing and pathogen infection in the mammalian host.  Our long-term goal is to reduce or block the spreading of vector-borne diseases by interfering with/blocking the mediating role of vector proteins. We are investigating the capacity of vector saliva immuno-modulatory factors at the vector-host interface with an overall aim to block their detrimental action to the host. Vector-borne diseases affect most parts of the world and constitute serious current day public health problems in vital need of solutions.  Arthropod vectors also serve as a potential means of introducing, propagating and spreading agents of public health significance. The current work in my laboratory focuses on Amblyomma maculatum, vector of Rickettsia parkeri; we are using high-throughput molecular strategies to identify tick saliva-derived molecules capable of stimulating disease-preventing tick rejection or pathogen transmission-blocking responses.


Current Graduate Students:

Rebekah Bullard, Ph.D.

Deepak Kumar, Ph.D.

Khemraj Budachetri, Ph.D.

Jaclyn Williams, M.S.


Selected recent publications:

Adamson SW, Browning RE, Kumar D, Chao CC, Bateman R, Ching WM, Karim S. 2013. Molecular characterization of the tick salivary glutaminyl cyclase. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 43, 781-793.

Browning R, Karim S. 2013. RNA interference-mediated depletion of N-ethylmaleimide Sensitive Fusion Protein and synaptosomal associated protein of 25 kDa results in the inhibition of blood feeding of the Gulf-Coast tick, Amblyomma maculatum. Insect Molecular Biology 22 (3), 245-257.

*Villarreal AM, Adamson SW, Browning RE, Budachetri K, Sajid MS, Karim S. 2013. Molecular characterization and functional significance of the Vti family of SNARE proteins in tick salivary glands. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 43(5), 483-493.

Karim S, Browning, R, Ali A, Truhett RL. 2012. Laboratory infected Ehrlichia chaffeensis female adult Amblyomma americanum salivary glands reveal differential gene expression. Journal of Medical Entomology 49: 547-554.

Browning, R., Adamson, S.W., Karim, S., 2012. Choice of a stable set of reference genes for qRT-PCR analysis in Amblyomma maculatum (Acari: Ixodidae). Journal of Medical Entomology, 49 (6), 1339-1346.

Karim S, and Adamson SW. 2012. RNA interference in ticks: a functional genomics tool for the study of physiology (Invited chapter). in: Jockusch, E.L. (Ed.), Small RNAs: Their Diversity, Roles, and Practical Uses. Elsevier, Storrs.

Karim S, Singh P, Ribeiro JMC. 2011. A deep insight into the sialotranscriptome of the Gulf Coast tick, Amblyomma maculatum. PLoS ONE 6(12): e28525.

Karim S, Troiano E, Mather TN. 2010. Functional genomics tool: gene silencing in nymphs and eggs of Ixodes scapularis tick by electroporated dsRNA. BMC Biotechnology 10:1

Karim S, Kenny B, Troiano E, Mather TN. 2008. RNAi mediated gene silencing in tick synganglia: a proof of concept study. BMC Biotechnology 8:30

Kotsyfakis M, Karim S, Anderson JF, Mather TN, Ribeiro JMC. 2007. Selective Cysteine Protease Inhibition contributes to blood feeding success of the Tick Ixodes scapularis. Journal of Biological Chemistry 282: 29256-29263.