Kirsten is a PhD student in the Cell Surface Signalling Laboratory. She is interested in understanding how malaria parasites interact with the human host, and is currently working on identifying novel extracellular interactions between Plasmodium falciparum surface proteins and human receptor proteins.
I started my PhD in the Cell Surface Signalling Group in 2013 and have since been investigating how Plasmodium falciparum parasites, the causative agent of the most severe form of human malaria, interact with their human host. I am particularly interested in the initial stage of infection where Plasmodium sporozoites migrate from the mosquito bite site in the skin to the liver. Proteins on the surface of both the Plasmodium sporozoite and human host cells are likely to be important in this journey, but little is known about the exact interactions which occur.
In order to identify potentially important, novel extracellular protein interactions I am carrying out high-throughput protein-protein interaction screens, using large libraries of recombinant sporozoite and human cell surface proteins. I am also working closely with the Billker Group to generate transgenic parasite lines which can be used to investigate the function of any novel interactions identified.