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Paul A. Sigala

Paul A. Sigala, PhD

Languages spoken: Twi, English, Spanish

Academic Information

Departments Primary - Biochemistry

Academic Office Information

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
Postdoctoral Fellow
Stanford University, CA
Undergraduate Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Undergraduate University of California, San Diego, CA

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. Goldberg DE, Sigala PA (2017). Plasmodium heme biosynthesis: To be or not to be essential? PLoS Pathog, 13(9), e1006511. (Read full article)
  2. 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. (Read full article)
  3. Sigala PA, Crowley JR, Henderson JP, Goldberg DE (2015). Deconvoluting heme biosynthesis to target blood-stage malaria parasites. Elife, 4. (Read full article)
  4. 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. (Read full article)
  5. 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. (Read full article)
  6. Sigala PA, Goldberg DE (2014). The peculiarities and paradoxes of Plasmodium heme metabolism. Annu Rev Microbiol, 68, 259-78. (Read full article)
  7. 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. (Read full article)
  8. 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. (Read full article)
  9. 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. (Read full article)


  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.