Genetics and Biochemistry

Dr. Kimberly Paul

Kimberly Paul

Associate Professor

Ph.D. Molecular Biology
1998, Princeton University

Contact Information
Office: 251A Life Sciences Building
Phone: (864) 656-1489

Research Focus Areas
Microbial Pathogenesis
Biochemistry and Metabolism
Cell and Developmental Biology


Research Activities

Trypanosomes are single-celled eukaryotes that comprise both free-living and pathogenic species. We are currently studying three species of trypanosomes that present an array of life histories and host-pathogen interactions: Trypanosoma brucei, a mammalian pathogen transmitted by Tsetse flies that causes African Sleeping Sickness, Crithidia fasciculata, a mosquito pathogen, and Bodo saltans, a free-living trypanosome. My lab is interested in how trypanosomes modulate the metabolism of a key nutrient class, fatty acids, in response to its environment and during progression through its life cycle. Fatty acids are not only an important structural component of membranes and a source of energy, but in the case of T. brucei at least, they also are implicated in immune evasion.

Relatively little is known about fatty acid metabolism in these evolutionarily ancient eukaryotes. Indeed, what we have learned about fatty acid synthesis in these organisms suggest that trypanosome fatty acid metabolic pathways may be quite diverged from higher eukaryotes, and therefore may be valuable for the identification of potential new drug targets for Trypanosome diseases, for improving our understanding of how basic metabolic processes have developed and evolved over time, and may contribute to a better understanding of these pathways as they function in mammals.

Currently, we are using a variety of genetic, biochemical, and cell biological tools to pursue questions in four main research areas:

(1) How do trypanosomes regulate fatty acid synthesis in response to the needs of the parasite and the environmental lipid supply?

(2) What is the role of fatty acid metabolism in pathogenesis and immune evasion in parasitic trypanosomes?

(3) What are the molecular mechanisms governing fatty acid uptake in trypanosomes?

(4) What are the components of the trypanosome lipid droplet machinery?


Grant Support


 2007, 2011 Nominee, College of AFLS Teacher of the Year

2005 Elsevier Progress in Lipids Research Young Investigator Award

2005 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Post-Doctoral Travel Fellowship


Chandler Brown
Robert Calvert
Myles Chetcuti
Kristen Fowler
Kyle Pazzo
Serena Walker

Courses Taught

BCHM 4320
Biochemistry of Metabolism

BCHM 4340
General Biochemistry Lab II

BCHM 4900
Genetics & Biochemistry of Eukaryotic Pathogens

Medical & Veterinary Parasitology

Medical & Veterinary Parasitology Laboratory

BIOSCI 4610/H4610/6610
Cell Biology

BIOSCI 4620/6620
Cell Biology Laboratory

MICRO 8060
Great Plagues: Paradigms in Infectious Diseases

MICRO 8070
Microbiology Journal Club

BIOSCI 8710/MICRO 8050
Ecology of Infectious Diseases

Parasite Club




Recent Publications

Goldston, A.M., Sharma, A.I., Paul, K.S., and Engman, D.M. (2014) Acylation in Trypanosomatids: An Essential Process and Potential Drug Target. Trends in Parasitology 30(7): 350-360.

Parmenter, K.J., Vigueira, P.A., Morlock, C.K., Paul, K.S., and Childress, M.J. (2013) “Seasonal Prevalence of Hematodinium sp. Infections of Blue Crabs in Three South Carolina (USA) rivers.” Estuaries and Coasts 6(1): 174-191.

Vigueira, P.A., Ray, S.S., Martin, B.A., Ligon, M.M., and Paul, K.S. (2012) “Effects of the green tea catechin (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) on Trypanosoma brucei brucei.” International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance 2: 225-229.

Tuten, H.C., Bridges, W.C., Paul, K.S., Adler, P.H. (2012) Bloodfeeding ecology of mosquitoes in zoos. Med. Vet. Entomol. 26(4): 407-416.

Vigueira, P.A., Paul, K.S. “Trypanosoma brucei: Inhibition of acetyl-CoA carboxylase by haloxyfop.” (2011) Exp. Parasitol. 130: 159-165

Vigueira, P.A., Paul, K.S. “Requirement for Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase in Trypanosoma brucei is Dependent Upon the Growth Environment.” (2011) Mol. Microbiol. 80: 117 -132

Stephens, J.L., Lee, S.H., Paul, K.S., Englund, P.T. (2007) Mitochondrial Fatty Acid Synthesis in Trypanosoma brucei. J. Biol. Chem. 282, 4427-4436

Lee, S.H., Stephens, J.L., Paul, K.S., Englund, P.T. (2006) Fatty Acid Synthesis by Elongases in Trypanosomes. Cell 126, 691-699.

Paul, K.S., Bacchi, C.J., Englund, P.T. (2004) Multiple triclosan targets in Trypanosoma brucei. Euk. Cell 3, 855-61.

*Morris, J.C., *Wang, Z., *Drew, M., *Paul, K.S., Englund, P.T. (2001) Inhibition of bloodstream form Trypanosoma brucei gene expression by RNA interference using the pZJM dual T7 vector. Mol. Biochem. Parasitol. 117, 111–3. (*equal contribution)

Paul, K.S., Jiang, D., Morita, Y.S., Englund, P.T. (2001) Fatty acid synthesis in African trypanosomes: a solution to the myristate mystery. Trends in Parasitology 8, 381–7.

Morita, Y.S., Paul, K.S., Englund, P.T. (2000) Specialized fatty acid synthesis in African trypanosomes: myristate for GPI anchors. Science 288, 140-3.