Microbial eukaryotes, or protozoa, represent a large component of the biosphere, with contributions to ecology, food security and the environment, while diseases caused by parasitic protozoa constitute a major global threat. Our work melds several key aspects of protist biology, principally focusing on the parasitic organisms of the trypanosome group, but also extending into environmental organisms, such as the algae Euglena. We are active in comparative genomics and experimental cell biology, using these approaches to understand how eukaryotes have evolved, as well as to develop methodologies for the functional understanding of protist diversity and disease mechanisms. Our principle research objectives are the discovery, functional characterisation and validation of novel gene products, drug targets and chemical tools towards neglected diseases to provide therapy, deep insights into protist cell biology and to understand eukaryotic evolution at the molecular level.
New therapeutics by targeted degradation: A new project investigating the potential for development of trypanocidal drugs based on PROTAC strategies through the use of targeted degradation and the ubiquitylation system.
Endocytic systems of trypanosomes: The role of components of the endocytotic pathway in drug sensitivity, virulence and protein/lipid sorting mechanisms.
Nuclear architecture and function in trypanosomes: Analysis of the trypanosome nuclear pore complex and nuclear envelope, and impact on gene expression and virulence.
Evolutionary biology, eukaryogenesis, eukaryotic microbial diversity: Reconstructing the evolutionary history of intracellular transport pathways and origins of the eukaryotic cell though comparative genomics, genome sequencing and proteomics.