Julius Nieuwland Professor of Biological Sciences
Director, Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases
Areas of Expertise
Understanding disease pathology and developing treatments in rare and neglected diseases
The first Parsons-Quinn Director of the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases, Haldar focuses on understanding cell function and cerebral disease in muring models that are important areas for discovering disease treatments. Her identification of how the malaria parasite attacks red blood cells revealed that a common blood pressure drug can be used to treat the disease, preventing the parasite from invading the cell. More recently, she researched the role of lipids, which has led to understanding how statins – the drugs used to lower cholesterol levels – protect against bacterial infection. Haldar’s work also has revealed new pathways that control the proper function of cellular components called lysosomes, which are defective in storage and neurodegenerative diseases such as Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC). Current studies focus on development of a quantitative, rapid neurobehavioral score by which to measure NPC disease in mice. Using this scale she is able to identify unique genetic signatures associated with disease progression, develop biomarkers as well as screen for drugs to treat disease in mice, in order that drugs can be progressed to clinical trials and therapeutic utilization.