Elizabeth Didier    

Elizabeth Didier, PhD
Research Scientist and Professor
Department of Tropical Medicine
Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
1440 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: (504) 988-6249
Fax: (504) 988-7313


Personal Statement:

Microsporidia are emerging and re-emerging fungal parasites associated with opportunistic infections and disease in humans including persons with HIV, organ transplant recipients, malnourished children, and the elderly. Subclinical infections are common in otherwise healthy individuals, and infections are transmitted between humans and from animals. Our research utilizes murine and nonhuman primate models of microsporidiosis to study molecular epidemiology, immunology, pathophysiology, drug therapies, and diagnostic methods. We also collaborate with investigators to better understand the evolution of the microsporidia. 

Over the past few years, our research began to transition to studies on the immunology of aging to develop a nonhuman primate model that can be applied to human aging. Markers of inflammation are being used to test predictions about healthy and less-healthy aging. This model is expected to become relevant for studies on resistance/susceptibility to infectious diseases and testing vaccine efficacy in the elderly.

Research Interests:

Immunology and pathogenesis of microsporidiosis; immunology of aging using a nonhuman primate model


Educational Background:

  • Post-doctoral, New York University Medical Center, New York, New York
  • PhD, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas
  • MS, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • BS, Denison University, Granville, Ohio

Professional Achievements and Memberships:

  • Member of Microsporidiosis Working Group for the NIH-CDC-HIVMA/IDSA, "Guidelines for Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-infected Adults and the Companion Guideline for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Children"
  • Editorial board member of Folia Parasitologica and PLoS One
  • Member of the American Association of Immunologists
  • Member of the American Society for Microbiology


Selected Publications:

Cai Y, Sugimoto C, Arainga M, Alvarez X, Didier ES, Kuroda MJ. (2014). In vivo characterization of alveolar and interstitial lung macrophages in rhesus macaques: implications for understanding lung disease in humans. J Immunol., 192(6), 2821-9.

Monjure CJ, Tatum CD, Panganiban AT, Arainga M, Traina-Dorge V, Marx PA, Didier ES. (2014). Optimization of PCR for quantification of simian immunodeficiency virus genomic RNA in plasma of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) using armored RNA. J Med Primatol., 43(1), 31-43.

Didier ES
, Becnel JJ, Kent ML, Sanders J, Weiss LM. (2013). Microsporidia. In DJ McLaughlin and JW Spatafora (Eds), The Mycota VII, Systematics and Evolution. New York City: Springer.

Grisdale CJ, Bowers LCDidier ES, Fast NM. (2013). Transcriptome analysis of the parasite, Encephalitozoon cuniculi: an in-depth examination of pre-mRNA splicing in a reduced eukaryote.  BMC Genomics, 14, 207.

Didier, ES
, Sugimoto C, Bowers LC, Khan IA, Kuroda MJ. (2012). Immunological correlates of aging in captive rhesus macaques. Immun. Ageing, 9, 25.

Didier ES, Sugimoto C, Bowers LC, Khan IA, Kuroda MJ. (2012). Immune correlates of aging in outdoor-housed captive rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Immun Ageing,  9(1), 25.

Didier PJ, Snowden K, Alvarez X, Didier ES. (2012). Microsporidiosis (Chapter 69). In CE Greene (Ed), Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat (704-709).  St. Louis, MO: W.B. Saunders.

Cuomo CA, Desjardins CA, Bakowski MA, Goldberg J, Ma AT, Young S, Zeng Q,  Didier ES, Becnel JJ, Troemel ER. (2012). Microsporidian genome analysis reveals evolutionary strategies for obligate intracellular growth. Genome Research, 22, 2478-2488.

Ungvari Z, Csiszar A, Phillip E, Campbell CM, McQuary PR, Chow TT, Coelho M, Didier ES, Gelino S, Holmbeck M, Kim I, Levy E, Sosnowska D, Sonntag WE, Austad SN, Ridgway I. (2012). Testing predictions of the oxidative stress hypothesis of aging using a novel invertebrate model of longevity: the giant clam (Tridacna derasa).  J. Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 68(4), 359-67.

Pahar B, Gray WL, Phelps K, Didier ES, deHaro E, Marx PA, Traina-Dorge VL. (2012). Increased cellular immune responses and CD4+ T-cell proliferation correlate with reduced plasma viral load in SIV challenged recombinant simian varicella virus - simian immunodeficiency virus (rSVV-SIV) vaccinated rhesus macaques. Virol J., 9, 160.

Wang, J, Tricoche N, Du L, Hunter M, Zhan B, Goud G, Didier ES, Liu J, Marx PA, Jiang S, Lustigman S. (2012). The adjuvanticity of an O. volvulus-derived rOv-ASP-1 protein in mice using sequential vaccinations and in non-human primates. PLoS One, 7(5), e37019 .

Weiss LM, Didier ES. (2011). Microsporidiosis: Not just in AIDS patients. Curr. Opin. Infect. Dis., 24, 490-495.

Liu D, Didier ES. (2011). Encephalitozoon (Chapter 92) In D Liu (Ed.), Molecular Detection of Human Fungal Pathogens (817-825). New York City, NY: CRC Press.

Ungvari Z, Ridgway I, Philipp E, Campbell C, McQuary PR, Chow TT,  Coelho M, Didier ES, Gelino S, Holmbeck M, Kim I, Levy E, Sosnowska D, Sonntag WE, Austad SN, Csiszar A. (2011). Extreme longevity is associated with increased resistance to oxidative stress in Arctica islandica, the longest-living non-colonial animal.  J. Gerontol., 66A, 741-750.

Sokolova OI, Demyanov AV, Bowers LC, Didier ES, Yakovlev AV, Skarlato SO, Sokolova YY. (2011). Emerging microsporidian infections in Russian HIV-infected patients. J. Clin. Microbiol., 49, 2102-2108.

Didier ES
, Bowers LC, Martin A, Kuroda MJ, Khan IA, Didier PJ. (2010). Reactive nitrogen and oxygen intermediates, and iron sequestration contribute to macrophage-mediated control of Encephalitozoon cuniculi (Phylum Microsporidia) infection in vitro and in vivo. Microbes Infect., 12, 1244-1251.

Corradi N, Pombert JF, Farinelli L, Didier ES, Keeling PJ. (2010). Genome compaction by chromosome end deletion in the smallest known nuclear genome. Nature Communications, 1,77.

Corradi N, Pombert JF, Farinelli L, Didier ES, Keeling PJ. (2010). The complete sequence of the smallest known nuclear genome from the microsporidian Encephalitozoon intestinalis. Nat Commun., 1, 77.

Didier ES, Weiss LM, Cali A, Marciano-Cabral F. (2009). Overview of the presentations on microsporidia and free-living amebae at the 10th International Workshops on Opportunistic Protists. Eukaryot Cell, 8(4), 441-5.

Kaminsky RG, Stovall ME, Mayer ML, Martin A, Bowers LC, Didier ES. (2007). Microsporidia intestinales en pacienetes viviendo con SIDA en Honduras.  Revista Medica Hondureña, 75, 116-123.

Nkinin SW, Asongany T, Didier ES, Kaneshiro ES. (2007). Enterocytozoon bieneusi infection is prevalent in normal, healthy people in Cameroon. J. Clin. Microbiol, 45(9), 2841-2846.

Didier PJ, Phillips JN, Kuebler DJ, Nasr M, Brindley PJ, Stovall ME, Bowers LC, Didier ES. (2006). Antimicrosporidial activity of fumagillin, TNP-470, ovalicin, and ovalicin-derivatives in vitro and in vivo. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother., 50, 2146-2155.

Didier ES, Weiss LM. (2006). Microsporidiosis. Curr. Opin. Infect. Dis., 19, 485-492.

Orenstein JM, Russo P, Didier ES, Bowers LC, Bunin N, Teachey DT. (2005). Fatal pulmonary microsporidiosis due to Encephalitozoon cuniculi following allogeneic bone marrow transplantation for acute myelogenous leukemia. Ultrastruct. Pathol., 29, 269-276.

Didier ES
, Bowers L, Stovall ME, Kuebler D, Mittleider D, Brindley PJ, Didier PJ. (2005). Antimicrosporidial activity of (fluoro)quinolones in vitro and in vivo.  Folia Parasitol., 52, 1-9.

Didier ES.
(2005). Microsporidiosis: An emerging and opportunistic infection in humans and animals. Acta Trop., 126, 145-166.

Didier ES, Maddry JA, Brindley PJ, Stovall ME, Didier PJ. (2005). Therapeutic strategies for human microsporidia infections. Exp. Rev. Anti-Infect. Ther., 3, 419-434.

Green LC, Didier PJ, Didier ES. (2004). Natural and experimental infection of immunocompromised rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) with the microsporidian, Enterocytozoon bieneusi genotype D. Microbes Infect., 6, 996-1002.

Teachey DT, Russo P, Orenstein JM, Didier ES, Bowers LC, Bunin N. (2004). Pulmonary infection with microsporidia after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. Bone Marrow Transplant, 33, 1-4.


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Department of Tropical Medicine, 1440 Canal Street, Suite 2210, New Orleans, LA 70112, 504-988-3558