Dr Julian Rayner

Julian's lab investigates the molecular details of human-parasite interactions during the P. falciparum blood stages, with a particular focus on large-scale experimental approaches to understanding erythrocyte invasion.

Julian graduated from Lincoln University in New Zealand in 1993 with a degree in Biochemistry. He then moved to the UK and obtained his PhD studying protein sorting in yeast, working in Dr Hugh Pelham's lab at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge.

While looking for a new research field to study as a post-doc, Julian stumbled across a review written by Dr John Barnwell describing how Plasmodium parasites invade human erythrocytes. Erythrocyte invasion is a fascinating and still largely unexplained cell biological process that is an essential step in both parasite survival and malaria pathogenesis. Julian was hooked. From 1998 to 2002, he studied as a post-doctoral research fellow in John Barnwell's lab at the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where he helped identify and characterise a new family of P. falciparum ligands involved in erythrocyte recognition. In 2002, Julian became a faculty member in the Department of Medicine at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, where his team worked on the molecular details of how P. falciparum parasites recognise and invade human erythrocytes, and established strong links to field studies in the Peruvian Amazon.

Julian joined the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute's Malaria Programme in 2008. The Malaria programme is integrating genomic, genetic and proteomic approaches to tackle fundamental questions in malaria biology, and to identify new targets for drug and vaccine development. Julian's team investigates the molecular details of human-parasite interactions during the P. falciparum blood stages, in order to identify new vaccine and drug targets.

Selected Publications

  • Quantitation of malaria parasite-erythrocyte cell-cell interactions using optical tweezers.

    Crick AJ, Theron M, Tiffert T, Lew VL, Cicuta P and Rayner JC

    Biophysical journal 2014;107;4;846-53

  • Genome sequencing of chimpanzee malaria parasites reveals possible pathways of adaptation to human hosts.

    Otto TD, Rayner JC, Böhme U, Pain A, Spottiswoode N, Sanders M, Quail M, Ollomo B, Renaud F, Thomas AW, Prugnolle F, Conway DJ, Newbold C and Berriman M

    Nature communications 2014;5;4754

  • A full-length recombinant Plasmodium falciparum PfRH5 protein induces inhibitory antibodies that are effective across common PfRH5 genetic variants.

    Bustamante LY, Bartholdson SJ, Crosnier C, Campos MG, Wanaguru M, Nguon C, Kwiatkowski DP, Wright GJ and Rayner JC

    Vaccine 2013;31;2;373-9

  • Analysis of protein palmitoylation reveals a pervasive role in Plasmodium development and pathogenesis.

    Jones ML, Collins MO, Goulding D, Choudhary JS and Rayner JC

    Cell host & microbe 2012;12;2;246-58

  • Basigin is a receptor essential for erythrocyte invasion by Plasmodium falciparum.

    Crosnier C, Bustamante LY, Bartholdson SJ, Bei AK, Theron M, Uchikawa M, Mboup S, Ndir O, Kwiatkowski DP, Duraisingh MT, Rayner JC and Wright GJ

    Nature 2011;480;7378;534-7

  • A scalable pipeline for highly effective genetic modification of a malaria parasite.

    Pfander C, Anar B, Schwach F, Otto TD, Brochet M, Volkmann K, Quail MA, Pain A, Rosen B, Skarnes W, Rayner JC and Billker O

    Nature methods 2011;8;12;1078-82

  • Origin of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in gorillas.

    Liu W, Li Y, Learn GH, Rudicell RS, Robertson JD, Keele BF, Ndjango JB, Sanz CM, Morgan DB, Locatelli S, Gonder MK, Kranzusch PJ, Walsh PD, Delaporte E, Mpoudi-Ngole E, Georgiev AV, Muller MN, Shaw GM, Peeters M, Sharp PM, Rayner JC and Hahn BH

    Nature 2010;467;7314;420-5

[Wellcome Library, London]

Julian's Project
Erythrocyte-parasite interactions
Research Area
Malaria programme
* quick link - http://q.sanger.ac.uk/0hkjwv66