Who’s Who: Tim Anderson
Timothy J.C. Anderson, Ph.D., is a professor and co-lead of the Disease Intervention & Prevention Program at Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed). For more than 30 years, Anderson has studied how malaria and parasitic worms that cause schistosomiasis evolve to resist drugs, and how to develop better treatments that are “evolution proof.”
The need is great. Together, malaria and schistosomiasis infect more than 400 million people, killing more than 500,000 every year, and treatment programs for these diseases have been set back by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
“We are treating these parasites and pathogens with a whole load of toxic compounds to which they enthusiastically evolve resistance,” Anderson says. “How can we develop drug treatments that parasites and pathogens can’t get around?”
Anderson uses various tools, from old-school genetic crosses to the latest CRISPR gene-editing scissors, to identify genes and pathways involved in infection mechanisms and drug resistance. His group also works on other bio-medically important parasite traits like host specificity and virulence. His lab is able to maintain malaria and schistosomiasis parasites throughout their full life cycles thanks to several animal models and excellent collaborators. Anderson collaborates with teams in Kenya and Southeast Asia, and right here in San Antonio at the University of Texas Health Science Center and University of Texas at San Antonio, to understand global resistance patterns and help apply genetic insights to develop potential treatments.
Anderson and his group were instrumental in identifying the first known drug resistance genes in schistosomes, and in understanding malaria’s resistance to the drug artemisinin. For his significant contributions to the field, Anderson received a prestigious MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health, which provided $4.6 million to support his malaria research through 2022.
Anderson earned a Ph.D. in ecology and evolution from the University of Rochester in New York, a Master’s in medical parasitology from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and a Bachelor’s in zoology form Oxford University. He has published more than 130 scientific papers.