Function of proteins involved in invasion of erythrocytes by malaria parasites

Function of proteins involved in invasion of erythrocytes by malaria parasites

Project details

Malaria is a major disease killing more than 500,000 people yearly. Our work aims to understand the malaria parasite and how it infects humans. We use this information to identify and develop potential vaccine targets

This parasite invades erythrocytes by using ligand-receptor interactions to attach and activate invasion. This project aims to understand the function of these ligands. 

This project will determine the function of ligands by making specific conditional gene knockout and fluorescent protein tagged lines. Students will use parasite tissue culturing, construction of genetically modified parasites using CRISPR technology, live imaging and super resolution microcopy to provide functional insights into this critical event in malaria parasite invasion.


About our research group

We are interested in identifying and characterising the function of parasite ligands and using this knowledge to develop vaccine candidates to target the malaria parasite.

We use CRISPR genome editing technology for efficient and specific parasite molecular genetics to make parasite lines with specific gene knockouts and also fluorescent protein tags. We perform experiments to define the loss-of-function phenotypes as well as live imaging and super-resolution microscopy to define the function of these proteins.

Our laboratory is made up of a mixture of postdoctoral fellows and PhD students providing opportunities for close supervision and assistance as well as working in a team environment.

Further reading: Cowman and Crabb, Cell 2006 124 :755, Volz et al., Cell Host Microbe 2016 20: 60


Professor Alan Cowman

Alan Cowman standing in a laboratory
Deputy Director and Joint Division Head
Dr Julie Healer profile shot
Infection and Immunity division

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