Research

The following areas of research are actively ongoing in the laboratory:

  • Projects that use the tools of genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics and immunoinformatics to elucidate the biology of the parasites that causeelephantiasis and African river blindness.
  • Projects that use genomic, proteomic and immunological information to identify and study vaccine candidates, drug targets and diagnostic molecules to help combat these parasites.
  • Projects to develop extremely sensitive DNA-based assays for screening human and mosquito populations for the presence of these parasites (work to aid the Global Programme for the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis).
  • Field-based projects to apply our DNA-based monitoring assays wherever they are needed. Recently, we have used our tests in French Polynesia, Haiti, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Togo, Vanuatu and others.
  • Metagenomics projects to study the microbiome of animals and humans following treatment with anti-parasitic drugs.
  • Discovery of plant-based anti-parasitic compounds in collaboration with chemists.
  • Microscopy-based studies using transmission, scanning and confocal microscopy to elucidate biological questions regarding filarial parasites and to identify surface-based or secreted vaccine candidates.
  • Projects to study the novel ways that these parasites organize and regulate their genes, including the study of gene regulation and promoters used during the development of these parasites.
  • Field-based projects to study the filarial parasites of endangered species such as the black-footed ferret and the Florida scrub jay in the U.S. and the cheetah and the striped hyena in Africa.