Seattle MCTC Leadership

Seattle Malaria Clinical Trials Center (Seattle MCTC)


James Kublin, MD, MPH

Dr. Kublin is the medical director of the Seattle Malaria Clinical Trials Center and a faculty member in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. He is also the executive director of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network based at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Dr. Kublin has conducted extensive research on HIV and malaria in South America, Southeast Asia and Africa, including clinical trials of novel therapies and vaccines.

Before moving to Seattle, he was director, HIV Vaccines – Infectious Diseases, for Merck & Co., Inc., where he played a key role in the development and implementation of HIV vaccine studies, overseeing the coordination of clinical assays, site identification and development, government and ethical approvals and providing guidance on vaccine policy issues.

Dr. Kublin completed his B.S. and M.D. at Georgetown University, and received his M.P.H. and completed a residency in Preventive Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. He continued work in vaccine development and molecular epidemiology while attending the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine for his fellowship in Vaccinology at the Center for Vaccine Development.

Sean C. Murphy, MD, PhD

Dr. Murphy is a clinicial investigator at the Seattle Malarial Clinical Trials center and medical director of the Human Challenge Center at the Center for Infectious Disease Research. He is also an assistant professor in Laboratory Medicine and assistant director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory at the University of Washington.

Dr. Murphy has been studying malaria since 1998. His major areas of malaria research are diagnostics and vaccine immunology. He focuses on human malaria infection using a variety of approaches ranging from tissue culture systems to the controlled human malaria infection model. His major areas of malaria research are diagnostics and vaccine immunology.

He and his team develop molecular diagnostic tests that target the 18S rRNA of the malaria parasite. Molecular diagnostic tests that specifically detect this rRNA are well-suited for human challenge studies since they can sensitively detect the parasite’s 18S rRNA days and allow for detection of malaria parasites in human blood up to 3-4 days earlier than by conventional blood smears. They are are also working to identify protective antigens in mice, validate the orthologous antigens in human subjects and develop multicomponent subunit vaccines that target the pre-erythrocytic stage of infection. Such vaccines could accelerate the development of effective vaccines for the eradication of malaria.

Dr. Murphy completed his medical and graduate training through the M.D./Ph.D. program at Northwestern University and conducted his Ph.D. studies there with Kasturi Haldar, Ph.D. He completed a residency in Clinical Pathology at the University of Washington and is board-certified by the American Board of Pathology. After residency, Dr. Murphy completed postdoctoral studies with HHMI investigator Mike Bevan, Ph.D., becoming assistant professor in Laboratory Medicine in 2012.