Associate Professor Chris Tonkin - Infectious Diseases and Immune Defence division

Associate Professor Chris Tonkin - Infectious Diseases and Immune Defence division

Location: 
Davis Auditorium
Start Time: 
Wed, 28/08/2019 - 1:00pm
End Time: 
Wed, 28/08/2019 - 2:00pm

How Toxoplasma senses and manipulates its host

Wednesday seminar​ hosted by Associate Professor Wai-Hong Tham

Toxoplasmosis is a spectrum of diseases of tissue damage caused by the intracellular eukaryotic unicellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Depending on tissue context Toxoplasma infection can cause congenital birth defects, disease in immunocompromised individuals and progressive blindness. Central to the infection process of Toxoplasma, and related apicomplexan parasites, is their ability to sense their host environment and respond accordingly. This fundamental process is a broad interest due to the fascinating biology of these intracellular parasites and the potential for targeting signaling pathways for the development of new therapies. Over the last 5 years the Tonkin lab has been focused on understanding how Toxoplasma interacts with the host, at the molecular level.  Here Chris will talk about the discoveries that his lab has made in this area, its implications for new treatments and the exciting biology still yet understood.

Chris completed his PhD in 2004 where he worked on the relict plastid of malaria parasites. He joined WEHI as a postdoctoral fellow to work on epigenetic mechanisms of antigenic variation and cytoadherance in Plasmodium falciparum. In 2010 Chris was promoted to laboratory head at WEHI and began the first research program in Australia dedicated to understanding Toxoplasma biology.