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RESEARCH FOCUS

We work to reconcile omics data with biological functions in the context of parasite disease control.  Our focus is on the development of novel drugs / vaccines for parasites through the discovery and validation of new targets for these interventions. 

We interrogate pathways and processes that control parasite behaviour (parasite nervous systems and muscles) as well as their growth and development (parasite stem cells) to uncover these new targets.  Vaccine candidates encompass virulence proteins involved in the host-parasite interaction as well as novel, parasite-specific proteins lacking known homologues. 

We develop functional genomics tools for parasites, facilitating the delineation of gene function and the exposure of new control targets from diverse omics datasets.  Work also encompasses the translation of in vitro gene silencing methods for both the in vivo assessment of target value and for the direct control of parasitic worms.

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RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES

Open to PhD applications from those with at least a 2.1 degree (or equivalent) in the biological/veterinary/medical sciences and interested in infectious disease, parasitology, functional genomics and the exploitation and development of new ‘omics’ technologies for drug discovery/disease control.   

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Research Students

Phd Title: Understanding the mechanisms of parasite drug resistance


Name: Nathan Clarke

Phd Title: Exploiting parasite neurobiology for disease control


Name: Duncan Wells

Phd Title: Studies on the biology of stem cells in parasites


Name: Matt Evans

Phd Title: Liver fluke stem cell dynamics and parasite growth/development


Name: Erica Gardiner

Alumni: where are they now?

Gunnar Mair


Current position: - Assistant Professor, Iowa State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, USA

Michael Kimber 


Current position: Associate Professor, Iowa State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, USA

Angela Mousley


Current position: Senior Lecturer, Biological Sciences, Institute for Global Food Security, Queen’s University Belfast, UK

Johnathan Dalzell 


Lecturer, Biological Sciences, Institute for Global Food Security, Queen’s University Belfast, UK

PUBLIC OUTREACH AND KEY ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Significant and sustained engagement with global pharmaceutical companies engaged in the development of new drugs for parasite control.
  • Awarded C.A Wright Medal by the British Society for Parasitology (Salford, England, 2004). 
  • Winner of Bueding von Brand Memorial award from the American Society of Parasitologists (Arlington, Texas, USA, 2008)
  • Elected to Membership of the Royal Irish Academy, 2012.  

 

 

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Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences

School of Biological Sciences

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