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Oliver Billker Lab

Forskningsgrupp studerar hur malariaparasiter sprider sig mellan värd och mygga och använder signaler från sina värdar för att para sig och reproducera.

Att förstå överföringen av malaria är nyckeln till utvecklingen av förebyggande och behandlingsstrategier mot sjukdomen.

The Billker lab develops new genetic technologies to investigate how malaria parasites reproduce in mosquitoes and get transmitted.


Understanding how malaria parasites get transmitted holds one of the keys to preventing the disease from spreading. Since transmission is closely linked with sexual reproduction, it is also at the heart of how the parasites evolve through recombining their genes. How Plasmodium species transition between host and vector and how they use cues from their hosts to time mating and reproduction has always fascinated me.

These biological questions still drive much of my work, but I also realise that answers will come more easily, the better we can engineer the parasite’s genome. Together with my colleagues at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Julian Rayner and Marcus Lee, we therefore continue to invest heavily into new technologies that are beginning to reveal gene functions in malaria parasites at unprecedented scale. We are keen to share these tools and resources widely, since we realise how useful they will be to understand the disease and to find new targets for drugs and vaccines.

Having spent much of the past years designing and running a DNA engineering pipeline, we are pleased that the PlasmoGEM project has produced vectors for the deletion of almost half of all Plasmodium berghei genes. It is now easy to make large numbers of mutants, each identified through its own molecular barcode. Importantly, barcodes allow us to screen mutants for specific phenotypes and we are excited to think about all the new possibilities this creates.

To identify new gene functions we often combine mutated parasites with a very detailed analysis of all their transcripts, proteins or protein modifications. With our collaborators this has allowed us to find a master regulator of sexual development and mosquito transmission, and to define a new pathway that regulates many key events in the parasite’s life cycle.

Läs mer på MIMS webbplats

Forskningsledare

Oliver Billker
Forskare, professor
E-post
E-post
Telefon
090-785 67 78

Översikt

Medverkande institutioner och enheter vid Umeå universitet

Institutionen för molekylärbiologi

Forskningsområde

Infektionsbiologi, Molekylärbiologi och genetik
I kampen mot malaria – myggans immunsystem kartläggs
I kampen mot malaria – myggans immunsystem kartläggs

Upptäckten ger möjligheter att hitta sätt att förhindra mygg från att sprida malariaparasiten till människor.

Prestigefyllda postdoktorstipendier för malariaforskning i Umeå
Prestigefyllda postdoktorstipendier för malariaforskning i Umeå

Mirjam Hunziker ska forska om hur malariaparasiter övergår till sexuell reproduktion.