Sohelia Maleki, PhD

 Sohelia Maleki, PhD

Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine
Section of Clinical Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology

Biographical Sketch:

Dr. Maleki received her bachelor of science degree in chemistry and biology from the University of Tennessee. She received her Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and completed post-doctoral work at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Structure, Function and Immunology of Peanut Allergens.

Dr. Maleki is currently a Research Scientist at the USDA focusing her work on peanut allergy and the reduction of peanut allergenicity through: processing, plant breeding and molecular biology. She is also working on understanding the structure and function of allergens, detection of allergens, and allergen immunology. Her overall accomplishments include: (1) the cloning, mutation, expression and purification of the myogenic transcription factors and defining the multiple thermodynamic equilibria that explains the interaction of these proteins with each other and with specific regulatory DNA sequences, which may lead to the use of these transcription factors in repair and rejuvenation of muscle; (2) high impact publications and two patent applications filed analyzing the relationship of the structure, function and immunological responses to the major peanut allergens; (3) studies involved in understanding and developing novel, T-cell mediated, immunotherapeutic treatments for peanut allergy; (4) being one of the first individuals in the field to perform high impact research describing the mechanistic relationship of thermal processing and allergenic behavior of food proteins. These studies were then taken to a more advanced level by unequivocally demonstrating that roasting enhances the allergenic properties of peanuts 90-fold over raw peanuts, alters T-cell stimulation and sensitization of mice.

Her awards include the American Peanut Research and Education Award in 2002, the Agricultural Research Service Early Career Scientist Award in 2003 and the Agricultural Reserch Service International Research Enhancement Award 2005. ARS-Post-doctoral research award, $100,000, 2007-2009. EPA award for Determination of clinically relevant cross-reactive epitopes of peanut and tree nuts $417,000 (2008-2010). USDA-Award for Primary and Secondary Prevention of Peanut and Tree Nut allergy, $4,000,000 (2009-2013).

She has been or is an invited member of the Food Allergy Advisory Committee to the FDA (2005) and Scientific Advisory Committee to the National Peanut Board, 2002-Present.

Publications include:

  • Chassaigne H, Trégoat V, Norgaard JV, Maleki SJ, van Hengel AJ. Resolution and identification of major peanut allergens using a combination of fluorescence two-dimensional differential gel electrophoresis, Western blotting and Q-TOF mass spectrometry. J Proteomics 2009;72(3):511-26.
  • Huntley JA, Maleki SJ, Baxter SM, Gonzales MD, Beavis WE. Bioinformatic Tools, Resources and Strategies for Comparative Structural Studies of Food Allergens. In: Food Contaminants, Mycotoxins and Food Allergens. Siantar DP, Trucksess MW, Scott PM, Herman EM (eds). American Society of Microbiology, Washington, DC 2008:322-356.
  • Naganawa Y, Shimmoto M, Maleki SJ, Takase M, Shinmoto H. Epitope analysis of peanut allergen Ara h 1 with oligoclonal IgM antibody from human B-lymphoblastoid cells. Cytotechnology JAACT special issue: 2008:9142-3.
  • Guo BZ, Liang X, Chung SY, Holbrook CC, Maleki SJ. Proteomic analysis of peanut seed storage proteins and genetic variation in a potential peanut allergen. Protein Peptide Letters 2008;5: 567-577.
  • Guo BZ, Liang X, Chung S-Y, Maleki SJ. Proteomic screening points to the potential importance of the basic subunit of Ara h 3 in allergenicity of peanut. Inflammation & Allergy – Drug Targets 2008;7(3):163-166(4)
  • Du Toit G, Katz Y, Sasieni P, Mesher D, Maleki SJ, Fisher H, Fox AT, Amir T, Gali Nitzan G, Kaluski D, Livne I, Lack G. Early consumption of peanuts in infancy is associated with a low prevalence of peanut allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008;122(5): 984-91.
  • Clare DA, Ghras G, Maleki SJ, Sanders TH. Effects of Transglutaminase Catalysis on the Functional and Immunoglobulin Binding Properties of Peanut Flour Dispersions Containing Casein, J Agric Food Chem. 2008;56 (22), 10913-10921.
  • Chu Y, Faustinelli P, Ramos ML, Hajduch M, Thelen JJ, Maleki SJ, Ozias-Akins P, Reduction of IgE Binding and Nonpromotion of Aspergillus flavus Fungal Growth by Simultaneously Silencing Ara h 2 and Ara h 6 in Peanut. J Agric Food Chem. 2008;56 (23), 11225-11233.
  • Ramos ML, Huntley JJ, Maleki SJ, Ozias-Akins P. Identification and characterization of a hypoallergenic orthodox of Ara Rh 2.01. Chem Plant Mol Biol. 2008;69(3):325-35.
  • Maleki SJ, Nesbit JB, Dyer SA, Cheng H, Wilson B, Kaza U, Bahna S. Chemical modification of IgE binding epitomes in roasted peanuts is more likely to contribute to altered IgE binding than structural changes. Proceedings of 37th United States Japan National Resource Panel. 2008:144-145.
  • Maleki SJ. Allergenicity of processed foods. Inform 2007;18:195-197.
  • Ozias-Akins P, Ramos ML, Faustinelli P, Chu Y, Maleki SJ, Thelen JJ, Huntley J, Arias K, Jordana M. Evaluating variability of allergens in commodity crops. Proc. New Methods Workshop, ILSI-HESI Protein Allergenicity Technical Committee, October 23-25, 2007, Nice, France, pp. 9-11.
  • Maleki SJ, Perkins T, Schmitt DA, Isleib TG. Breeding a Hypoallergenic Peanut. Proceedings of 36th United States Japan National Resource Panel: 2007:152-156.
  • Watanabe T, Akiyama H, Maleki SJ, Yamakawa H, IIjima K, Yamazaki F, Matsumoto T, Futo S, Arakawa F, Watai M, Maitani T. A specific qualitative detection method for peanut (Arachis Hypogaea) in foods using polymerase chain reaction. Journal of Food Biochemistry 2006;30:215-223.
  • Maleki SJ. Characterization of peanut-specific T cells. In: Animal Cell Technology: Basic and Applied Aspects. 2006;14:9-21, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Springer Press.
  • Maleki SJ, Burks AW, Helm RM (eds). Food Allergy. Washington, D.C., ASM Press, 2006.
  • Maleki SJ, Schmitt DA, Yamaki K, Shinophara K, Champagne ET. Analyzing the major peanut allergens, Proceedings of the 35th United States-Japan Resource Panel FF3-FF8.
  • Maleki SJ, Sathe SK. The effects of processing methods on allergenic properties of food proteins. In: Food Allergy. Maleki SJ, Burks WA, Helm RM (eds). American Society of Microbiology, Washington DC, 2006: pp 309-322.
  • Shinmoto H, Naganawa Y, Shimmoto M, Maleki SJ. Generation of mouse-human hybridomas secreting antibodies against peanut allergen Ara Rh 1. Cytotechnology 2005;46:19-23. Maleki SJ, Hurlburt BK. Structural and functional alterations in major peanut allergens caused by thermal processing. Journal of AOAC International 2004;87(6):1475-1479.


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