Dr. Bunnik Faculty Profile



Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics

Bunnik, Evelien M., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Personal Statement:

Dr. Bunnik’s Website: www.bunniklab.org

Dr. Bunnik is fascinated by host-pathogen interactions, in particular the interplay between host immune responses and immune evasion strategies of the infectious agent. She received her PhD from the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands, where she studied neutralizing antibody responses in HIV-infected individuals over the course of infection. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California in Riverside, she took a functional genomics approach to studying gene regulation in the most deadly human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Her current work is focused on understanding protective immunity to malaria to facilitate the design of an effective malaria vaccine.


Ph.D., University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands


The overall research goal of the Bunnik laboratory is to understand the development and maintenance of protective immunity in malaria-exposed individuals and to use this knowledge for the design of a novel, effective malaria vaccine. To identify targets of protective anti-malaria humoral immunity, we screen and clone antibodies from protected individuals living in malaria-endemic regions, followed by further characterization of antibodies reactive against the malaria parasite. In addition, we study the development of this humoral immune response over time, in particular with respect to affinity maturation and the development of subsets of non-responsive (or atypical) malaria-specific memory B cells. An additional focus of the lab is the role of chromatin structure and genome organization on gene expression during normal B cell development and in dysfunctional B cells in malaria-exposed individuals.

Awards & Accomplishments

YearAward Name
20111st prize Academic Medical Center Amsterdam Ph.D. Thesis Award 2010
2010HFSP long-term post-doctoral fellowship
2010EMBO long-term post-doctoral fellowship
2010Ph.D. degree received cum laude
2002M.S. degree received cum laude


  • American Association of Immunologists
  • American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene
  • American Society for Parasitologists


  • Bunnik EM, Batugedara G, Saraf A, Prudhomme J, Florens A, Le Roch KG. The mRNA-bound proteome of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Genome Biology (2016) 17:147.
  • Ay F*, Bunnik EM*, Varoquaux N*, Bol SM, Prudhomme J, Vert JP, Noble WS, Le Roch KG. Three-dimensional modelling of the P. falciparum genome during the erythrocytic cycle reveals a strong connection between genome architecture and gene expression. Genome Research (2014), 24:974-988. (*contributed equally)
  • Bunnik EM, Polishko A, Prudhomme J, Ponts N, Gill SS, Lonardi S, Le Roch KG. DNA-encoded nucleosome occupancy is associated with transcriptional levels in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. BMC Genomics (2014), 15:347.
  • Bunnik EM, Chung DWD, Hamilton M, Ponts N, Saraf A, Prudhomme J, Florens L, Le Roch KG. Polysome profiling reveals translational control of gene expression in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Genome Biology (2013), 14(11):R128.
  • Bunnik EM, Swenson LC, Edo-Matas D, Huang W, Dong W, Frantzell A, Petropoulos CJ, Coakley E, Schuitemaker H, Harrigan PR, van ‘t Wout AB. Detection of inferred CCR5- and CXCR4-using HIV-1 variants and evolutionary intermediates using ultra-deep pyrosequencing. PLoS Pathogens (2011), 7(6):e1002106.
  • Bunnik EM, Euler Z, Welkers MRA, Boeser-Nunnink BDM, Grijsen ML, Prins JM, Schuitemaker H. Adaptation of HIV-1 envelope gp120 to humoral immunity at a population level. Nature Medicine (2010), 16(9):995-997.