Dr Sasha V Siegel | Postdoctoral Fellow

Siegel, Sasha

Sasha is a parasitologist by training, and uses genomics to better understand the evolutionary dynamics of parasitism, which is one of nature’s most stunning examples of flexibility and adaptation for survival. She is particularly interested in parasite diversity, with her recent work primarily focused on malaria - the most important parasitic disease of humankind.

My current focus is on Plasmodium vivax, the second most common human malaria parasite. P. vivax infections have unique clinical features, especially in respect to the parasite’s ability to cause patient relapse by lying dormant in the liver and awakening in the future to create a new wave of active infection. I’m working on genomic data analysis of recurrent P. vivax infections as part of a global effort led by Ric Price (Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin, Australia). The high-level goal of my work is to develop methods and technologies to reliably discriminate between the three possible causes of clinical recurrent P. vivax infection – relapse, recrudescence, or reinfection.

Prior to that, I have explored the unique evolutionary events that led to the emergence of the Plasmodium falciparum parasite when it “jumped” from gorillas to humans. I then worked on characterizing transcriptional diversity in Plasmodium vivax clinical infections.

I obtained my PhD with Dennis Kyle at the University of South Florida, where I led a project investigating how underlying mitochondrial genetic diversity contributes to a spectrum of phenotypic clinical resistance for mitochondrially-targeted antimalarial drugs. We also showed that mitochondrial mutations associated with resistance to these drugs can be successfully transmitted through the mosquito vector – making underlying mitochondrial genetic diversity (heteroplasmy) important to consider when developing new mitochondrially-targeted drugs. During this time, I also collaborated with Dr. Isaure De Buron (College of Charleston) as part of a team that completed the life cycles of blood flukes that parasitize polychaetes and several fish species, as well as described several new parasite species for the first time. ­­­­

Publications

  • Single cell sequencing shines a light on malaria parasite relatedness in complex infections.

    Siegel SV and Rayner JC

    Trends in parasitology 2020;36;2;83-85

  • Adaptation of Plasmodium falciparum to humans involved the loss of an ape-specific erythrocyte invasion ligand.

    Proto WR, Siegel SV, Dankwa S, Liu W, Kemp A et al.

    Nature communications 2019;10;1;4512

  • First evidence of polychaete intermediate hosts for Neospirorchis spp. marine turtle blood flukes (Trematoda: Spirorchiidae).

    de Buron I, Colon BL, Siegel SV, Oberstaller J, Rivero A and Kyle DE

    International journal for parasitology 2018;48;14;1097-1106

  • Blood flukes Cardicola parvus and C. laruei (Trematoda: Aporocotylidae): life cycles and cryptic infection in spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus (Teleost: Sciaenidae).

    Siegel SV, Rivero AV, Oberstaller J, Colon BL, de Buron I and Kyle DE

    Parasitology international 2018;67;2;150-158

  • Menoctone Resistance in Malaria Parasites Is Conferred by M133I Mutations in Cytochrome b That Are Transmissible through Mosquitoes.

    Blake LD, Johnson ME, Siegel SV, McQueen A, Iyamu ID et al.

    Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy 2017;61;8

  • First evidence of polychaete intermediate hosts for Neospirorchis spp. marine turtle blood flukes (Trematoda: Spirorchiidae).

    de Buron I, Colon BL, Siegel SV, Oberstaller J, Rivero A and Kyle DE

    International journal for parasitology 2018;48;14;1097-1106

  • Blood flukes Cardicola parvus and C. laruei (Trematoda: Aporocotylidae): life cycles and cryptic infection in spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus (Teleost: Sciaenidae).

    Siegel SV, Rivero AV, Oberstaller J, Colon BL, de Buron I and Kyle DE

    Parasitology international 2018;67;2;150-158

  • Menoctone Resistance in Malaria Parasites Is Conferred by M133I Mutations in Cytochrome b That Are Transmissible through Mosquitoes.

    Blake LD, Johnson ME, Siegel SV, McQueen A, Iyamu ID et al.

    Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy 2017;61;8

Siegel, Sasha
Sasha's Timeline
2017

Joined Julian Rayner's group at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute working on parasite evolutionary genomics

2016

Joined the Centre for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases (CTEGD) program at the University of Georgia as a postdoc working in broad areas of parasitology

Completed my M.S. and Ph.D. with Dennis Kyle at the University of South Florida (USF) where I worked on discovering mechanisms of drug resistance to mitochondrial inhibitors in Plasmodium parasites

2010

Graduated from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, with two Bachelor's degrees in Biology and Music