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Witola, William Harold

Assistant Professor of Veterinary Parasitology.
Principal Investigator, The Witola Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology.

Address and Contact Information

Department of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine
Room 2432 Veterinary Medicine Basic Sciences Building, MC-002
2001 S Lincoln Avenue
Urbana, IL  61802


1995: B.Vet.Med. (Veterinary Medicine), University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia.

1998: M.Sc. (Veterinary Biochemistry), University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia.

2001: Certificate (Advanced Molecular Protozoology), Obihiro University, Obihiro, Japan.

2005: Ph.D. (Veterinary Medical Sciences/Molecular Parasitology), Hokkaido University, Sapporo,  Japan.

2005: Postdoctoral Fellow (Molecular Parasitology), Hokkaido University, Japan.

2005-2008: Postdoctoral Fellow (Molecular Parasitology), University of Connecticut Medical Center, Farmington, USA.

2008-2010: Postdoctoral Fellow (Molecular Parasitology), University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, USA.

Academic Interests

The Witola laboratory’s research interests are in protozoan and nematode parasites of medical and veterinary significance, including Toxoplasma gondii, Cryptosporidium parvum, Plasmodium falciparum, Trypanosoma, and Haemonchus.

The lab is specifically focused on:

  1. Deciphering molecular networks involved in host-parasite interactions,
  2. Unravelling parasite biosynthetic pathways important in parasite growth, virulence and survival within the host, and
  3. Elucidation of host immuno-genetics mitigating resistance to parasitic infections.

The ultimate goal of the lab is to identify, characterize, and validate novel molecular targets for anti-parasite drug and vaccine development, as well as to establish inherent host genetic markers for resistance to parasitic infections.

Courses Taught

  • VM607 - Pathobiology II
  • Independent studies and thesis research for graduate students


USDA-NIFA Hatch Fund-ILLU-888-380:  Witola (PI), 12/2018 - 09/2019

USDA-NIFA-AFRI-2018-67015-28293:  Witola (PI), 07/2018 - 06/2022

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-OPP1160842:  Witola (PI), 11/2016 - 05/2018

USDA-NIFA Hatch Fund-ILLU-888-313:  Witola (PI), 11/2016 - 09/2018

UIUC-FIRE Program:  Davidson (PI), Witola (Co-PI), 10/2016 - 09/2018

USDA-NIFA-2015-38821-24334:  Kpomblekou (PI), Witola (Co-PI), 09/2015 - 12/2018

USDA-NIFA-AFRI-2014-67016-21570:  Witola (PI), 12/2013 - 11/2018

USDA-NIFA:  Reddy (PI), Witola (Co-I), 09/2013 - 08/2016

USDA-NIFA-AFRI-2012-67016-19450:  Witola (PI), 05/2012 - 04/2015

USAID Sub-award with ICRISAT:  Prakash (PI), Witola (Co-PI), 11/2011 - 10/2016

USDA-NIFA-2011-38821-30934:  Witola (PI), 09/2011 - 08/2015

Alabama Agricultural Land Grant Alliance:  Witola (PI), 01/2011 - 01/2012

Honors and Awards

2018: Zoetis (Pfizer) Animal Health Research Excellence Award, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

2018: Dr. Erwin Small Teaching Award, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

2012: Outstanding Faculty Performance Award for Research, Tuskegee University.

2012: NIH PRIDE Program – Functional Genomics Training Fellowship.

2006: Best Poster Award, XVI Molecular Parasitology Meeting, Woods Hole, USA.

2001: Monbusho Ph.D. Scholarship, Hokkaido University, Japan.

2000: JICA Training Fellowship, National Research Center for Protozoan Diseases, Japan.

Selected Service Activities

Journal Editorial Boards:

2017-date: Editorial Board Member: Infection and Immunity.

2016-date: Associate Editor: The Journal of Microbiology.

Adhoc Manuscript review:

  • Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
  • International Journal for Parasitology Drug and Drug Resistance
  • Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA - General Subjects)
  • Chemistry Central Journal,
  • Open Journal of Immunology,
  • Veterinary Parasitology
  • Parasites and Vectors
  • Parasite Research
  • Pathogens and Global Health
  • Pharmaceutical Biology
  • British Journal of Immunology
  • Lifesciences Journals

Grant review:

  • 2018 Review Panel member, USAID Intersection of Agriculture and Livestock/Aquatic Diseases Funding Program.
  • 2018 Adhoc Reviewer, USDA-NIFA-AFRI Exploratory Research Program
  • 2018 Adhoc Reviewer, FINOVI Foundation Fund for Fundamental & Translational Research in Infectious Diseases, France.
  • 2017 Review Panel member, Companion Animal Research Grant Program, UIUC.
  • 2015 Review Panel member, USDA-NIFA-AFRI Animal Health Program.
  • Ad hoc Reviewer for the National Priorities Research Program (NPRP) of the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF).

Membership to Professional Societies:

  • Member of the American Society of Microbiology
  • Member of the American Society of Parasitologists
  • Member of the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists

Doody's Books Reviewer for:

  • Arthropod-borne Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat, 2nd Edition. Edited by Michael J. Day. CRC Press/Taylor & Francis Group, 2016.
  • Veterinary Parasitology, 4th Edition. Edited by Taylor MA, Coop RL, and Wall RL. Wiley-Blackwell, 2016.
  • Illustrated Dictionary of Parasitology in the Post-genomic Era, 1st Edition. Edited by Elsheikha HM and Jarroll EL. Caister Academic Press, 2017.


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