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Personal profile

Area of academic expertise - outline

My area of expertise is Parasitology/Protistology and host-pathogen interactions, in particular molecular and biochemical parasitology of protists, including Acanthamoeba and Neoparamoeba species, Toxoplasma gondii,  and host immune responses. 

I am currently leading on projects investigating microbial interactions with the environment and the understanding of antimicrobial resistance in the environment.

My current work is funded by UKRI (NERC), industry and charities and addresses specifically UN SDGS 3, 14, 15.

I enjoy collaborating with academic and non-academic groups, including international insitutions, NHS and industry. 

Current research activities

Understanding Acanthamoeba keratitis: 

Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) is a serious sight-threatening infection, caused by a normally free-living single cell microorganism. Patients report life-changing experiences. Our ground-breaking research on AK has helped patients and practitioners worldwide. The characterisation of metabolic pathways for drug discovery and repurposing in Acanthamoeba has led to an active participation in severe disease resolution.  We are integrated into an international patient support group and also work with industry, clinicians and researchers worldwide.

Characterisation of Neoparamoeba species, causative agent of Amoebic Gill Disease: 

We are working on the analysis of biochemical pathways in Neoparamoeba, which causes AGD, in order to idetntify and develop new antimicrobial targets. Furthermore, we are gaining new knowledge of microbial symbiosis.  

The emergence of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in the environment:

We are focused on understanding the impact of contaminants and pollution in the environment on antimicrobial resistance and the development of mitigation strategies

Host-pathogen interactions in Toxoplasmosis:  

This project is focused on studying the mechanisms by which the intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii manipulates host cell immune responses and behaviours;

 

Current teaching activities and interests

I teach on a number of different modules at all undergraduate and postgraduate levels:

Undergraduate:

Parasitology

Basic and Clinical Immunology

Principles and Techniques in Immunoassays

Genetics

Microbiology

Postgraduate:

Research Methods in Biomedical Science

Putting together a Grant proposal

Interdisciplinary collaborations

Other areas of expertise available for knowledge exchange

Over 10 years experience in working with SMEs, in particular through Interface, in delivering milestones and outcomes in a timely and confidential manner.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, collaboration with seven companies based in Scotland and USA to develop antiviral products. Development of coronavirus system to study environmental transmission 

 

 

Keywords

  • QR180 Immunology
  • Parasitology
  • host immune response
  • host-pathogen interaction
  • molecular biology
  • gene expression

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