High-throughput decoding of virulence mechanisms in African trypanosomes


  • Prof David Horn

    University of Dundee

Project summary

Professor Horn works on the African trypanosome, Trypanosoma brucei, which is transmitted among mammalian hosts by the tsetse fly, causing human African trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness, and the livestock disease nagana. The molecular mechanisms affecting virulence, antigenic variation, transmission, drug susceptibility and human serum susceptibility have remained largely unknown. Professor Horn’s team have developed RNA interference (RNAi) library screening for exploitation of T. brucei genome sequence data. He wants to exploit the power of the RNAi target sequencing approach to decode the genetic basis of fundamental aspects of T. brucei biology and pathogenesis. The key goals are to characterise the machineries that underpin parasite-drug interactions, evasion from host defence and survival within the mammalian host. The studies promise major advances in our understanding of these key virulence mechanisms.