Infectious diseases

Theme Lead: Dr Roberto Galizi

Our research targets global health problems affecting human and animal health through interdisciplinary expertise in infectious diseases. We have a primary focus on parasites and viruses that are transmitted by insect vectors including malaria, leishmaniasis and several arboviruses causing serious threat to both human and animal health.

The School of Life Sciences and the Centre for Applied Entomology and Parasitology (CAEP) at Keele University have long-established expertise in insect genetics, entomology, epidemiology, virology and parasitology. We conduct fundamental and applied research on a range of infectious diseases through worldwide collaborations including research partners in low-income and disease-endemic countries. A few examples of collaborative networks we lead or contribute to are:

The NIHR-funded ECLIPSE applied healthcare programme aims to reduce stigma and improving the patient journey for people living with cutaneous leishmaniasis in Brazil, Ethiopia and Sri Lanka.

The development of an African Center for Excellence in Molecular Engineering (ACEME), through the training of junior African scientists at Keele University, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The PANDORA project, funded by the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership, aimed to develop and strengthen effective outbreak response to emerging infections in sub-Saharan Africa.

BBSRC-funded collaborations with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and multiple laboratories across UK and US, focused on the development of new genetic technologies to control insect disease vectors.

Key areas of our research in infectious diseases include the following:

Malaria, leishmaniasis and animal african trypanosomiasis

Our research includes the investigation of biological mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis and transmission of protozoan parasites (such as Leishmania, Trypanosoma evansi and Plasmodium spp.) as well as the development of new therapeutics urgently needed against these pathogens. Through the ECLIPSE programme, community-based interventions are being developed to raise awareness, improve treatment access and reduce stigma associated with cutaneous leishmaniasis.

Staff: Srabasti Chakravorty - Paul Horrocks - Helen Price - Ilaria Russo

Insect vectors of disease

Researchers at Keele are studying the mechanism that regulate insect reproduction and their ability to transmit pathogens. We are developing new methods to genetically control insect vector populations either by interfering with their ability to reproduce or to impair their capacity to transmit diseases. Our methods involve the genetic transformation of insects or their microbiome with novel molecular tools, including CRISPR technologies. 

Staff: Roberto GaliziShivanand Hegde

Viral pathology and epidemiology

Arboviral disease research focuses on the molecular interactions between viruses and the highly specialised mosquito vectors that are responsible for their transmission between noninfected and infected animal and/or human hosts. An additional area of research examines the role of environmental and ecological pressures on mosquito ecology and the spread of the transmitted diseases.

Staff: Pip BeardNajmul Haider

Academic staff members in the infectious diseases research theme: