My team has two major parallel interests: fundamental parasite biology and advanced parasite diagnostics and epidemiology.
On the fundamental side, we use advanced sequencing technologies and bioinformatics to explore the genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics of major human parasites, including soil transmitted helminthes and major diarrhoeal pathogens (Giardia and Cryptosporidium).
We are particularly interested in:
On the applied side, we develop quantitative real-time PCR assays to test for major parasites and other pathogens/microorganisms of relevance to the local water industry (for example Cryptosporidium and toxigenic cyanobacteria) and/or of relevance to global health (for example human gastrointestinal parasites).
We use these tools to assess transmission risk and to explore parasite epidemiology in developed and resource poor settings.
Australia, University of Queensland, PhD
Canada, Vancouver Island University, BSc
Ansell BRE, McConville MD, Ma’ayeh SY, Dagley MJ, Gasser RB, Svard SG, Jex AR. (2015). Drug resistance in Giardia duodenalis. Biotechnol Adv, 33, 888-901. PMID: 25922317
Ansell BRE, McConnville MJ, Baker L, Korhonen PK, Young ND, Hall RS, Rojaz CAA, Svard SG, Gasser RB, Jex AR. (2015). Time-dependent transcriptional changes in axenic Giardia duodenalis trophozoites. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004261 PMID: 26636323
Zhu XQ, Korhonen P, Young ND, Huimin C, Nejsum P, von Samsom-Himmelstjerna G, Boag P, Tan P, Fang X, Hall RS, Hofmann A, Sternberg P, Jex AR and Gasser RB. (2015). Genetic blueprint of the zoonotic pathogen Toxocara canis. Nat Comms. In Press PMID: 25649139
Jex AR, Nejsum P, Schwarz EM, Hu L, Young ND, Hall RS, Korhonen PK, Liao S, Thamsborg S, Xia J, Xu P, Wang S, Scheerlink JPY, Hofmann A, Sternberg PW, Wang J, Gasser RB. (2014). Genome and transcriptome of the porcine whipworm Trichuris suis. Nat Genetics. 46, 701-6 PMID: 24929829
Young ND*, Jex AR*, Li B*, Liu S, Yang L, Xiong Z, Li Y, Cantacessi C, Hall RS, Xu X, Chen F, Wu X, Zerlotini A, Oliviera G, Hofmann A, Zhang G, Fang X, Kang Y, Campbell BE, Loukas A, Ranganathan S, Rollinson D, Rinaldi G, Brindley PJ, Wang Jun, Yang H, Wang Jian and Gasser RB. (2012). Whole-genome sequence of Schistosoma haematobium. Nat Genetics, 44, 221-225 PMID: 22246508
Jex AR*, Liu S*, Li B*, Young ND*, Hall RS, Li Y, Yang L, Zeng N, Xu X, Xiong Z, Chen F, Wu X, Zhang G, Fang X, Kang Y, Anderson GA, Harris TW, Campbell BE, Vlaminck J, Wang T, Cantacessi C, Schwarz EM, Ranganathan S, Geldhof P, Nejsum P, Sternberg PW, Yang H, Wang Jun, Wang Jian and Gasser RB. (2011). Ascaris suum draft genome. Nature, 479: 529-533. PMID: 22031327
Jex AR, Smith HV, Nolan MJ, Campbell BE, Young ND, Cantacessi C and Gasser RB. (2011). Cryptic parasite revealed – improved prospects for treatment and control of human cryptosporidiosis through advanced technologies. Adv Parasitol, 77, 141-73 PMID: 22137584
Jex AR, Hall RS, Littlewood DT, Gasser RB. (2010) An integrated pipeline for next-generation sequencing and annotation of mitochondrial genomes. Nucleic Acids Res; 38: 522-533 PMID: 19892826
Jex AR and Gasser RB (2010) Genetic richness and diversity in Cryptosporidium hominis and C. parvum reveals major knowledge gaps and a need for the application of “next generation” technologies – Research review. Biotechnol Adv; 28: 17-26 PMID: 19699288
Jex AR, Smith HV, Monis P, Campbell BE, Gasser RB. (2008). Cryptosporidium – biotechnological advances in detection, diagnosis and analysis of genetic variation. Biotechnol Adv; 26: 304-317 PMID: 18430539
In this project stream, we use advanced sequencing and bioinformatics to understand how parasites respond to drugs at the molecular level and how these responses differ from those to heat, oxidative and other non-drug induced forms of stress.
We explore how these behaviours change as parasites (primarily Giardia duodenalis) develop drug resistance. The aim is to understand mechanisms of resistance to major antiparasitic drugs and, more generally, to identify general drug-induced responses that facilitate the development of drug resistance.
Ultimately, we use this information to guide efforts to develop new antiparasitic compounds.
We use genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and epigenetic methods to explore the molecular biology underpinning parasite invasion of a new host, development within that host, and the methods by which the parasite interacts with and seeks to thwart the host immune attack against it.
This research project focuses primarily on human gastrointestinal helminthes, diarrhoeal pathogens (Giardia and Cryptosporidium) and relapsing malaria parasites (Plasmodium vivax).
This project stream focuses on the development and utilisation of molecular (primarily PCR-based) diagnostic tools for the rapid and specific identification and quantitation of gastrointestinal pathogens (helminths and diarrhoeal parasites) and select aquatic microorganisms (specific toxigenic and/or taste/odor compound producing cyanobacteria).
Within this research stream, we partner with the local Victorian water industry to test drinking, recreational and recycled water supplies for cyanobacteria that may reduce water quality or present a risk to the public or local wildlife.
This project stream is aimed at exploring and quantifying the importance of neglected gastrointestinal parasites in people in resource poor settings.
The current focus of this research is on evaluating the impact of gastrointestinal parasites on childhood health and development in Karen populations in refugee communities in northwest Thailand (Tha Song Yang region).
We will use PCR-based tools and microbiomic sequencing to support efforts to quantify the impact of gastrointestinal parasites in child health in the region. These will also assist in monitoring the effectiveness of a newly established childhood health intervention program aimed at controlling gastrointestinal infections and improving child health.