Malaria, Mosquitoes and Man
Within CAEP, the Malaria, Mosquitoes and Man group has recently been established to foster and strengthen collaborations between six research laboratories with synergetic interests in Anopheles gambiae, Plasmodium falciparum and their interactions. They bring together expertise in insect physiology, fitness costs and transmission of parasites and development of malaria sporogonic stages (Prof. Hilary Hurd), mosquito transgenesis, immunity and genetic driver systems (Prof. Paul Eggleston), molecular biology and gene expression analyses in P. falciparum (Dr Paul Horrocks), molecular ecology and population genomics of A. gambiae (Dr Frédéric Tripet), molecular and cellular consequences of P. falciparum sequestration on human cells (Dr Srabasti Chakravorty) and molecular genetics to investigate parasite virulence and mechanisms of antigenic variation (Dr Catherine Merrick). The Malaria, Mosquitoes and Man group is interested in transmission and pathogenesis of malaria. This includes all aspects of modern vector control, from discovering genes for refractoriness to P. falciparum in A. gambiae to identifying new targets in P. falciparum, and from engineering mosquitoes to no longer transmit malaria to studying the ecology and population genetics of target populations. It extends to understanding P. falciparum gene expression within red blood cells and post-adhesive effects of Plasmodium-infected cells on the human vascular endothelium during a malaria infection with the goal of potentially identifying new malaria treatments.
We have excellent facilities within CAEP that include a newly refurbished suite of laboratories and a suite of 7 insectaries. New facilities include bio-safety-level 3 rooms for culture of human malaria parasites and mosquito infections and human vascular cells making Keele one of a handful of UK Institutions capable of undertaking research that bridges both the sexual and asexual stages of the malaria parasite with a view to a better understanding of all aspects of malaria. We also have dedicated facilities for scanning and transmission electron microscopy, real-time quantitative PCR and fluorescence imaging, mass spectrometry and microarray analysis. In addition to high quality local facilities, the group also benefits from a network of collaborators in Africa that enables us to co-ordinate laboratory-based and field-based studies. We encourage strong candidates with interest in one or more of those fields to apply to our PhD program. Applicants may also be interested in joining our Msc in Molecular Parasitology and Vector Biology organized jointly with the Universities of Manchester and Salford.
Photographs Top: Scanning electron micrograph of an oocyst of Plasmodium yoelii nigerienses on the midgut wall of Anopheles stephensi (Hilary Hurd)
Middle - Anopheles stephensi line 1 pupa (3xP3:ECFP) (Paul Eggleston)
Bottom: Bio-safety-level 3 Plasmodium falciparum culture room A