Skip to main content

Paul A. Sigala, PhD

Languages spoken: English, Spanish, Twi

Academic Information

Departments: Biochemistry - Assistant Professor

Academic Office Information

(801) 587-4874

Emma Eccles Jones Research Building
15 North Medical Drive East, Room: 3532D
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Research Interests

  • Malaria
  • Heme Metabolism
  • Organelle Structure and Function
  • Metabolic Adaptation

In my lab, we use diverse biochemical, biophysical, and cellular tools to understand the metabolic adaptations that enable Plasmodium malaria parasites to survive and proliferate within human red blood cells. Our goals are to broaden fundamental knowledge of fascinating and divergent parasite biology and to identify and develop new therapeutic strategies to target this dangerous pathogen. My training and expertise are highly interdisciplinary and span multiple areas of mechanistic biochemistry, biophysics, parasite cell biology, and red blood cell metabolism. I am passionate about leveraging my cross-disciplinary training to mentor students to be rigorous, creative, and curiosity-driven scientists.

Education History

Postdoctoral Fellowship Washington University in St. Louis, MO
Molecular Microbiology
Postdoctoral Fellow
Doctoral Training Stanford University, CA
Undergraduate Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Academic Exchange: Spanish Literature
Undergraduate University of California, San Diego, CA
Chemistry/Biochemistry, Spanish Literature
B.S., B.A.

Selected Publications

  1. (2019). "Combination Artemisinin and Chemiluminescent Photodynamic Therapy and Uses Therefor". U.S. Patent No. USPTO 10925963. Washington, D.C.:U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  2. Goldberg DE, Sigala PA (2017). Plasmodium heme biosynthesis: To be or not to be essential? PLoS Pathog, 13(9), e1006511.
  3. Sigala PA, Morante K, Tsumoto K, Caaveiro JM, Goldberg DE (2016). In-Cell Enzymology To Probe His-Heme Ligation in Heme Oxygenase Catalysis. Biochemistry, 55(34), 4836-49.
  4. Sigala PA, Crowley JR, Henderson JP, Goldberg DE (2015). Deconvoluting heme biosynthesis to target blood-stage malaria parasites. Elife, 4.
  5. Sigala PA, Ruben EA, Liu CW, Piccoli PM, Hohenstein EG, Martinez TJ, Schultz AJ, Herschlag D (2015). Determination of Hydrogen Bond Structure in Water versus Aprotic Environments To Test the Relationship Between Length and Stability. J Am Chem Soc, 137(17), 5730-40.
  6. Ke H, Sigala PA, Miura K, Morrisey JM, Mather MW, Crowley JR, Henderson JP, Goldberg DE, Long CA, Vaidya AB (2014). The heme biosynthesis pathway is essential for Plasmodium falciparum development in mosquito stage but not in blood stages. J Biol Chem, 289(50), 34827-37.
  7. Sigala PA, Goldberg DE (2014). The peculiarities and paradoxes of Plasmodium heme metabolism. Annu Rev Microbiol, 68, 259-78.
  8. Sigala PA, Fafarman AT, Schwans JP, Fried SD, Fenn TD, Caaveiro JM, Pybus B, Ringe D, Petsko GA, Boxer SG, Herschlag D (2013). Quantitative dissection of hydrogen bond-mediated proton transfer in the ketosteroid isomerase active site. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 110(28), E2552-61.
  9. Sigala PA, Crowley JR, Hsieh S, Henderson JP, Goldberg DE (2012). Direct tests of enzymatic heme degradation by the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. J Biol Chem, 287(45), 37793-807.
  10. Fafarman AT, Sigala PA, Schwans JP, Fenn TD, Herschlag D, Boxer SG (2012). Quantitative, directional measurement of electric field heterogeneity in the active site of ketosteroid isomerase. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 109(6), E299-308.

Global Impact

Education History

Type School Degree
Postdoctoral Fellowship Washington University in St. Louis, MO
Molecular Microbiology
Postdoctoral Fellow


Date Role Description Country
06/20/1999 Teacher U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer: Chemistry, HIV/AIDS, and computer education; Asankrangwa Secondary School, Ghana, West Africa Ghana