We use large-scale experimental approaches to identify and prioritise drug and vaccine targets in malaria. Focusing on the blood stages of human malaria parasite species, we combine systematic genetic modification, proteomics, cellular phenotyping, biochemistry and sequencing to understand basic biology and to advance new therapeutic targets.
We work in three main areas:
- Large-scale experimental genetic screens. Working closely with Oliver Billker and Marcus Lee, we develop scalable genetic technologies and apply them to human, simian and rodent Plasmodium parasites to explore the unannotated half of the Plasmodium genome and prioritise drug targets.
- Host-parasite interactions. Focusing on the invasion of red blood cells by P. falciparum parasites, an essential step for parasite survival and malaria pathogenesis, we work with Gavin Wright to identify new receptor-ligand interactions, and study them in the lab to prioritise new vaccine targets. We also seek to understand the role these interactions play in host specificity, including in the relatives of human Plasmodium parasites in African apes.
- Partnership and capacity building. Plasmodium parasites are not model organisms, and all malaria research is rooted in the challenges facing endemic countries. We work closely with partners in Kenya, Ghana, India and Colombia to ensure the tools we develop are accessible to all malaria researchers.