Jacquin C. Niles is Assistant Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT and holds the Pfizer-Laubach Career Development Chair. He was born and raised on the small Caribbean island of Anguilla, which he left to study chemistry at MIT. He went on to receive a PhD in Molecular Toxicology from MIT, and then an MD from Harvard Medical School.
Currently, Professor Niles runs a laboratory that applies engineering at the molecular, cellular, and biochemical level to address key challenges in understanding infectious diseases and the biology of certain organisms. The lab is especially focused on Plasmodium falciparum, the parasitic agent that causes malaria. Each year this agent infects some 600 million people in developing countries, causing between one and two million deaths. A major goal of Professor Niles’ work is to discover how the malaria parasite functions to survive in its host organisms and why it has had such success as a pathogen in humans.