Rev. Julius A. Nieuwland, C.S.C., Professor of Biological Sciences
As the director of the Boler-Parseghian Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases, Kasturi Haldar leads an interdisciplinary team working feverishly to develop life-saving treatments for a host of illnesses that have been all but ignored by pharmaceutical companies. One key area of her research focuses on malaria, which kills an estimated one million of the world’s poor each year—mostly children. Here she leads the Notre Dame team in partnership with Eli Lilly & Co. and the Medicines for Malaria Venture to develop new drugs for malaria. Haldar’s lab has pioneered new methods of targeting the malaria parasite, research that holds promise for the development of an effective anti-malarial vaccine.
In 2009, she was awarded a Grand Challenges Exploration grant—one of 81 scientists chosen from among 3,000 submitted proposals—by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to further her work identifying vaccine targets for malaria; the grants are designed to help scientists around the world explore bold ideas for improving health in developing countries.
Prior to her 2008 appointment as the Nieuwland Professor of Biological Sciences, Haldar held the Morrison Chair in Pathology at Northwestern University. She is currently editor-in-chief of the journal PLoS Pathogens.
This professorship memorializes Father Julius Nieuwland, who directed Notre Dame’s organic chemistry research program in the 1920s. His formulae led to the discovery of neoprene, a synthetic rubber, by E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. Nieuwland used his consulting fees from DuPont to improve the chemistry library. Subsequent royalties helped to fund the construction of the Nieuwland Science Building in 1952.