Leonidas Spathis

Urquhart Building, Henry Wellcome Complex, Garscube, Glasgow G61 1QH
Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow
Tel: +44 07759818193

Email: l.spathis.1@research.gla.ac.uk

ORCID iDhttps://orcid.org/https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4788-0132

Research title: A comparative approach to identify potential control targets for filarial parasitic nematode infections

Research Summary

Infection with parasitic filarial nematodes causes chronic and debilitating disease in humans, and in dogs infected with the heartworm Dirofilaria immitis.

Anthelmintic drugs are widely used to treat infections, however administration of these has led to drug resistance, currently a growing concern for D. immitis. Alternative approaches involving the development of new drugs or vaccines to control or prevent infection are required.

Our current knowledge of nematode molecular genetics is largely based on extensive studies of the free living species Caenorhabditis elegans and thus more research studies are required to elucidate the mechanisms and pathways involved during larval development of these filarial parasites. Comparative analysis of transcriptome studies across the various developmental stages could provide a detailed overview of the specific genes and proteins that play a significant role to differentiate distinct lifecycle stages of these parasites.

My PhD project aims to build on existing RNA sequencing data to identify specific genes and proteins upregulated as filarial parasites develop from the larval to adult stage. To assess if the selected genes are potential targets, we will test the effects of knockout/knock down using gene knockout technology (RNAi) and inhibitor compounds. The outcomes will help inform design of new therapeutics to block infection and subsequent disease.

Grants

This project is funded by a University of Glasgow Industrial Partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim