- Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology (Parasitology)
Current research :
Systematic analysis of essential parasite genes linked to invasion of the host cell in Toxoplasma gondii
Like all apicomplexan parasites, Toxoplasma gondii exhibits a complex life cycle, involving transmission and differentiation within and between different hosts. The accessibility of T.gondii as an experimental system allows this parasite to be used as a superior model organism for many questions that cannot be easily addressed in other Apicomplexans. The asexual life cycle closely resembles the life cycle of Plasmodium blood stages and many factors involved in different processes, especially the factors involved in host cell invasion and regulation of intracellular development can be efficiently studied in T.gondii.
Our research focuses on the mechanisms involved in invasion and modulation of the host cell, focusing on the characterisation of essential genes of interest (GOIs) that are believed to play a role in these processes. Since the whole machinery required for host cell invasion is linked to the secretory pathway of the parasite we are especially interested in defining the transport routes of essential invasion factors and to define the vesicular trafficking systems involved.
In order to actively invade the host cell, these parasites employ their own actin-myosin-system and we aim to dissect the individual components of this complex motor to analyse their function during gliding motility and/or host cell invasion. In order to characterise these essential components our group developed cutting edge genetic technologies in apicomplexan parasites and we aim to implement them in a high-throughput-approach that will hopefully allow us to analyse the whole phenome of these important pathogens.
Grants and Awards listed are those received whilst working with the University of Glasgow.
- Essential or redundant: Dissection of apicomplexan invasion mechanisms
2014 - 2019
- The Wellcome Centre for Molecular Parasitology ( Core Support )
2014 - 2021
- Systematic analysis of genes and gene networks that modulate differential macrophage response to Toxoplasma gondii and inflammatory stimuli
2014 - 2015
- EndoTox: Endosomal dependent transport to the unique secretory organelles of apicomplexan parasites
European Research Council
2013 - 2018
- Identification of novel drug targets in host cells that are required by the intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii
Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance
2010 - 2011
- Systematic analysis of essential parasite genes linked to invasion of the host cell in Toxoplasma gondii
2009 - 2014
2009 - 2014
- SULSA Readership in Cell Biology
Scottish Funding Council
2009 - 2014
- MALSIG - 'Signalling in major developmental stages of malaria parasites'
2009 - 2012
- 2013 - 2013: Current Opinion in Microbiology - Guest Editor for special issue on apicomplexan parasites
- - ongoing: BMC Microbiology - Associate Editor
Invited International Presentations
- 2013: Lisbon, Portugal - Apicomplexan in farm animals (Keynote)
- 2012: Caxambu, Brazil - Annual Meeting of the Brazilian Society of Protozoology
- 2011: Harrogate, England, UK - Society for General Microbiology
- 2010: Cardiff, Wales, UK - British Society of Parasitology (BSP Spring), Malaria, Leishmania and Trypanosoma Meeting
- 2008: Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA - Molecular Parasitology Meeting
- 2008: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, UK - Invited Speaker, British Society of Parasitology (BSP Spring), Malaria, Leishmania and Trypanosoma Meeting
- 2008: Lorne, Australia - MAM (Molecular Approaches to Malaria)
- 2008: Buzios, Brazil - Toxoplasma Centennial Conference
- 2007: Chico Hot Springs, Montana, USA - 9th International Congress on Toxoplasmosis
- 2007: Heidelberg, Germany - Third Annual BioMalPar Conference: "The Biology and Pathology of the Malaria Parasite"
- 2007: London, England, UK - Invited Speaker, COST Action 857 workshop
- 2006: Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA - Molecular Parasitology Meeting
- 2006: Heidelberg, Germany - Second Annual BioMalPar Conference: "The Biology and Pathology of the Malaria Parasite"
- 2005: Caxambu, Brazil - Invited speaker, Annual Meeting of the Brazilian Society of Protozoology
- 2005: Beatenburg, Switzerland - Invited Speaker, COST 857 Action "Apicomplexan parasites in the post-genomic era"
- 2005: Marburg, Germany - Invited Speaker, meeting of the DFG-Schwerpunktprogramm "Intracellular Lifeforms"
- : Invited Lectures - Universities and Research Institutions in Brazil, USA, France, United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia and Germany
- : Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Meeting
Prizes, Awards and Distinctions
- 2012: ERC Starting Grant - Consolidator, Euros 1.7M
- 2009: Scottish University Life Science Association - Award GBP 0.5M
- 2009: Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowship - GBP 1.7M
- 2004: German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) - BioFuture Prize Euros 1.5M
- 2003: Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA - Prize for best presentation at the annual Woods Hole conference on molecular parasitology
- 2003: American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) - Award in recognition of Scientific Excellence in Molecular, Cellular and Immunoparasitology
- 2001: German Humboldt Society - Feodor-Lynen-postdoctoral fellowship
- 1997: Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, USA - DAAD predoctoral Fellowship (German academic exchange program) for Student Exchange Program
- 2009 - 2014: Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship
- 2001 - 2001: Feodor-Lynen Fellowship of the German Humboldt Society