Amy McHenry, PhD

Amy McHenry

Biological Sciences
Assoc. Professor
6 years

Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of South Florida, 2009-2011

Ph.D. Molecular Parasitology from University of Notre Dame, 2009

B.S. Biology, Honors from Union College, 2004

Chootong P, McHenry AM, Ntumngia FB, Sattabongkot J, Adams JH. (2014) The association of Duffy binding protein region II polymorphisms and its antigenicity in Plasmodium vivaxisolates from Thailand. Parasitol Int 63(6): 858-64. 

Ntumngia FB, Barnes SJ, McHenry AM, George MT, Schloegel J, Adams JH. (2014) Immunogenicity of a synthetic vaccine based on the Plasmodium vivax Duffy Binding Protein Region II. Clin Vaccine Immunol 21(9): 1215-23. 

Arthur J. Schmitt Presidential PhD Fellowship, University of Notre Dame, 2004-2008

Travel Award for Vivax Malaria Research: 2005 and Beyond, Washington DC, 2005

CA Herrick Award for outstanding poster, Annual Midwestern Conference of Parasitologists, Wabash, IN, 2005 

Rene Evard Memorial Scholarship, Union College Department of Math & Science

William Dale Leech Award, Union College Department of Math & Science, 2004 

National Merit Scholar, 1999

Malaria remains a significant cause of illness and death worldwide. Amy McHenry, Ph.D., researches the Plasmodium vivax Duffy-binding protein interaction with the human red blood cell. This parasite protein is required for successful invasion into the human red blood cell and if the interaction is absent, disease does not occur. Targeting this parasite protein for vaccine development comes with a number of substantial challenges. One of these is that the Duffy-binding protein is highly polymorphic, meaning that it varies from one strain to another. This makes it very difficult for the immune system to mount an effective response, as the Duffy-binding protein is, essentially, a "moving target”. Currently, Amy is working in collaboration with her friend and colleague, Patchanee Chootong (Mahidol University, Thailand) to better understand naturally acquired immunity toPlasmodium vivax.  A deeper understanding of how individuals eventually develop some level of clinical immunity to malaria will help to guide development of an effective Duffy-binding protein-based vaccine. 

Missions Club Sponsor

When not in the classroom, you will likely find Amy McHenry, Ph.D., doing anything related to biology, missions, or family. She is passionate about children’s ministries, Christian education and missionary service. Amy teaches kindergarten Sabbath School and has directed several Vacation Bible School programs over the years. She grew up in a missionary family in Malawi (birth-1985) and Brazil (1991-1994) and served as a student missionary to the Czech Republic (2001-2002). She enjoys reading about people, history, science and politics. Amy is married to Peter McHenry (the other Dr. McHenry in the Biology Department) and they have three energetic children and two comfortable cats.