Dr. Jetsumon Sattabongkot Prachumsri started malaria research at the US Army Component, Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS), in Bangkok, Thailand, as supervisor of the Laboratory Science Section, Entomology Department, in 1985. She worked at AFRIMS for over 26 years before moving to Mahidol University in 2011 to establish the Malaria Excellent Center at the Faculty of Tropical Medicine. She was Deputy Dean for Research at the faculty in 2012-2016. Dr. Prachumsri's research has focused on malaria transmission and biology. Her laboratory identified the second type of P. vivax using ELISA against circumsporozoite protein, which was a vaccine candidate in 1989. This finding impacted upon the P. vivax vaccine-development program sponsored by the US Department of Defense. To support the malaria drug development program she established a new human cell line, HC04, which can support both P. falciparum and P. vivax liver-stage development. The cell line, invented by Dr. Prachumsri and her team, was patented for its unique characteristics in 2006.
Dr. Prachumsri has led a team of researchers with experience in malaria epidemiology, malaria diagnosis by microscopy, in-vitro culture of different stages of human malaria, and studies of gametocyte and mosquito stages of human malaria. Her team is one of a few groups in the world that consistently work on the P. vivax parasite, which cannot easily be cultured continuously in vitro. Her team has participated in several consortia working on P. vivax as the selected reference laboratory and the only laboratory that constantly evaluates the efficacy of transmission-blocking vaccine candidates against P. vivax isolates from humans. Her unique capacity to do research on P. vivax biology, especially at the transmission stages, including gametocytes and sporogonic development in mosquito vectors, and with the collaboration of many research teams, has contributed to research in P. vivax and other human malaria. Dr. Prachumsri was a co-investigator for the first P. vivax human challenge study at the US Army laboratory. She established the protocol to infect Anopheles dirus with P. vivax parasites collected from Thai patients and transportation of the infected mosquitoes from Bangkok to USA via courier. This capability enables US scientists to evaluate new vaccine candidates and drugs against liver-stage P. vivax, while in-vitro culture of the parasite's blood stage remains problematic. Dr. Prachumsri has authored/co-authored over 200 publications listed under Sattabongkot J and Prachumsri J. She is the PI and co-investigator in many malaria studies in Thailand and other countries in the region. Currently, her studies are being funded by MMV, BMGF, US NIH, US-DoD, Korean NIH, and with local funding in Thailand.