New Wellcome Award for Leishmania Research

Published: 2 February 2021

Dr Eva Gluenz from WCIP will lead the work with collaborators from Oxford and York.

The genome sequence of Leishmania parasites was first decoded 15 years ago. There still remain many unanswered questions about the genres that are vital for infectivity, and what their specific functions are, how they help the parasite go though its life cycle, infect sand flies and mammals, and persist in mammalian macrophages.

Lead researcher Dr Eva Gluenz, a Senior Research Fellow at WCIP, and colleagues from the University of York, Oxford Brookes University and the University of Oxford have secured a £2.3 million Wellcome Collaborative Award to define the molecular determinants required for Leishmania life cycle progression and virulence.

Eva Gluenz

Over the next five years, researchers in the Gluenz lab will use CRISPR genome modification tools to generate 9000 Leishmania gene deletion mutants and, with Jeremy Mottram’s group (York), study them in vitro and in vivo to determine which genes are important for causing disease. Jack Sunter’s group (Oxford Brookes) will tag 3000 proteins with a fluorescent marker and to work out where in the cell these proteins are found, helping to define their function. This positional and functional information from experiments will be combined, with integrative data analysis led by Richard Wheeler (University of Oxford), to uncover the most important pathways for parasite infectivity.

First published: 2 February 2021