Stephanie Yanow, PhD

Professor, School of Public Health

Pronouns: she/her


Professor, School of Public Health
(780) 248-1018
6-032b Katz Group Centre For Research
11315 - 87 Ave NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H5


Area of Study / Keywords

Malaria Vaccines Pregnancy


Education and Training

PhD in Cell Biology 1998 – 2001

Imperial Cancer Research Fund,

University College London, 

London, England

Bachelor of Science, First Class Honours 1992 – 1996

Department of Biology, 

McGill University, 

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Postdoc training: McGill University (2004-2006), California Institute of Technology (2001-2003)

Cross-appointment: Dept. of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Alberta

Institute affiliations: WCHRI, Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology


  • 1998 – 2001 Overseas Research Studentship award, University College London
  • 1998 – 1999 British Council Chevening/Athlone-Vanier Fellowship
  • 1998 – 2000 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada post-graduate award
  • 2000 Promega UK Young Life Scientist of the Year
  • 2001 – 2003 Caltech Divisional Fellowship
  • 2004 – 2007 Fonds de Recherche en Santé du Québec Postdoctoral Fellowship; declined
  • 2004 – 2006 Richard H. Tomlinson postdoctoral fellowship, McGill University
  • 2004 – 2007 CIHR postdoctoral fellowship
  • 2011 Rising Stars in Global Health Award, Grand Challenges Canada
  • 2014 – 2016 Host, Visiting Scientist Award from Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions
  • 2014 Endeavour Executive Fellowship, Australia


Research collaborations within the University of Alberta:

  • Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Canada
  • Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology, Canada

Research collaborations with other academic institutions:

  • Griffith University, Australia
  • University of Antioquia, Colombia
  • University of South Florida, USA
  • FIOCRUZ, Brazil
  • University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Collaborations with governmental organizations:

  • Ministry of Health, Uganda

Current funding

2020-2025        National Institutes of Health (NIH). ‘Exploiting a cross-reactive epitope in Plasmodium vivax PvDBP to develop a vaccine against falciparum placental malaria’. (PI) $1,943,922 USD.

2020-2025        Canadian Institutes of Health Research. ‘Exploiting a cross-reactive epitope in Plasmodium vivax PvDBP to develop a vaccine against falciparum placental malaria’. (PI) $812,196.

2017-2022         NSERC Discovery Grant. ‘DBL protein function in P. chabaudi invasion and cytoadhesion’. (PI) $156,000.


My research program is focused on various aspects of malaria from basic pathogenesis to translational development of vaccines.  A major focus of our work is on the interactions between malaria parasites of different species and the host immune system, particularly during infection in pregnancy. From our field work with colleagues in Uganda, Colombia and Brazil, one of our major discoveries was that exposure to Plasmodium vivax can elicit protective antibodies against P. falciparum in pregnancy, which may lead to improved birth outcomes. My team is now studying the mechanism of cross-species immunity with a major goal to exploit these findings for vaccine development. In other recent work, we are developing ex-vivo models of placental malaria to study host-parasite interactions in this microenvironment. We are specifically interested in the role of exosomes in mediating these interactions and the downstream physiological effects of parasite sequestration on the placenta.


SPH 506 - Public Health Biology

Provides an understanding of the biology of human health and disease as it affects public health. Normal biochemistry, physiology and immunology of healthy humans. Exploration of mechanisms responsible for genetic, nutritional, infectious, toxic and chronic diseases and their effects on human populations. Factors affecting human health and disease during stages of human development including infancy, youth, reproduction, pregnancy and aging. Examine the basis for current health promotion, disease prevention and control strategies. Note: Credit may not be obtained for both PHS 506 and SPH 506.

SPH 561 - Topics in Public Health

Browse more courses taught by Stephanie Yanow

Scholarly Activities

Research - Developing a cross-species malaria vaccine

The goal of this project is to exploit natural cross-immunity between P. vivax and P. falciparum antigens that we observed in Colombia and Brazil to develop a vaccine against P. falciparum placental malaria. We are mapping the epitopes that induce cross-reactive antibodies and employing synthetic chemistry, structural biology, and computational modeling strategies to design vaccine candidates. Collaborators: Dr. John Adams, University of South Florida; Dr. Eliana Arango and Dr. Amanda Maestre, U de Antioquia, Colombia; Dr. Michael Good, Griffith University, Australia.

Research - Integrated molecular approaches to the diagnosis and epidemiology of pregnancy-associated malaria in Latin America

We apply molecular diagnostics to investigate the prevalence and parasite dynamics of P. falciparum and P. vivax during pregnancy within a low transmission setting in Colombia. We recently completed a longitudinal study of pregnant women in Colombia and are studying the effects of infections in pregnancy on host immunity and clinical outcomes at delivery. We are particularly interested in how submicroscopic infections are controlled by maternal immunity. Collaborators: Dr. Eliana Arango and Dr. Amanda Maestre, U de Antioquia, Colombia.

Research - Pathogenesis of placental malaria (Project co-lead)

We are developing an ex-vivo model of placental malaria using placental villi and cultured P. falciparum parasites. With this model, we are studying the effects of parasite cytoadhesion on the physiology of the placenta, the role of host and parasite exosomes on cytoadhesion and immune cell recruitment, and the regulation of the syndecan-1 receptor.  We are also using this model for pre-clinical testing of antibodies raised against our vaccine candidates. Collaborators: Dr. Denise Hemmings, U of Alberta; Dr. Hernando del Portillo and Dr. Carmen Fernandez at ISGlobal, Barcelona.


Generation of a peptide vaccine candidate against falciparum placental malaria based on a discontinuous epitope.

Author(s): Mitran, C.J., Higa, L., Good, M.F., and Yanow, S.K.
Publication Date: 2020
Publication: Vaccines
Volume: 8
Issue: 3
DOI: 10.3390/vaccines8030392

VAR2CSA antibodies in non-pregnant populations.

Author(s): Gnidehou, S., and Yanow, S.K.
Publication Date: 2020
Publication: Trends in Parasitology
DOI: 10.1016/

Antibodies to cryptic epitopes in distant homologues underpin a mechanism of heterologous immunity between Plasmodium vivax PvDBP and Plasmodium falciparum VAR2CSA.

Author(s): Mitran, C.J., Mena, A., Gnidehou, S., Banman, S., Arango, E., Lima, B.A.S., Lugo, H., Ganesan, A., Salanti, A., Mbonye, A.K., Ntumngia, F., Barakat, K., Adams, J.H., Kano, F.S., Carvalho, L.H., Maestre, A., Good, M.F., and Yanow, S.K.
Publication Date: 2020
Publication: mBio
DOI: 10.1128/mBio.02343-19

The case for exploiting cross-species epitopes in malaria vaccine design.

Author(s): Mitran, C.J., and Yanow, S.K.
Publication Date: 2020
Publication: Frontiers in Immunology
Volume: 11
Issue: 335

Cross-Species Immune Recognition Between Plasmodium vivax Duffy Binding Protein Antibodies and the Plasmodium falciparum Surface Antigen VAR2CSA.

Author(s): Gnidehou S, Mitran CJ, Arango E, Banman S, Mena A, Medawar E, Lima BAS, Doritchamou J, Rajwani J, Jin A, Gavina K, Ntumngia F, Duffy P, Narum D, Ndam NT, Nielsen MA, Salanti A, Kano FS, Carvalho LH, Adams JH, Maestre A, Good MF, Yanow SK.
Publication Date: 2019
Publication: The Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume: 219
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 110-120