How do malaria parasites traverse human cells and invade hepatocytes?

How do malaria parasites traverse human cells and invade hepatocytes?

Project details

Malaria parasite-infected mosquitoes deposit sporozoites into the skin when they take a blood meal. The sporozoites must migrate to the liver and infect hepatocytes in order to survive, before they can infect red blood cells. We have identified proteins in the most deadly malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum that allow sporozoites to migrate through human cells so that they can reach and infect the liver.

This project will characterise how these proteins function during cell traversal to provide better ways of blocking liver infection and malaria. The project will involve molecular genetics, growth of parasites through mosquitoes, cell culture, cell biology, proteomics and microscopy

About our research group

We are interested in understanding how malaria parasites infect humans and mosquitoes. A deeper understanding of these processes should allow us to develop antimalarial strategies or a vaccine. Our laboratory recapitulates the complete malaria lifecycle using mosquitoes in an insectary, allowing the study of all lifecycle stages of the malaria parasite. This includes the liver stage.




Professor Alan Cowman

Alan Cowman standing in a laboratory
Deputy Director and Joint Division Head

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