Dr Dina Vlachou is a molecular biologist with extensive experience in disease vector and parasite genetics and functional genomics. She was trained as a postdoctoral researcher on vector and parasite research in Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (IMBB-FORTH, Crete, Greece) and the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC, Leiden, The Netherlands), respectively. She then joined the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany) as a Marie Curie carrier development fellow to carry out research on functional genomics of mosquito/parasite interactions. She is currently Advanced Research Fellow at Imperial College London (ICL) and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Cyprus Institute (CyI).
Her scientific interest is on malaria transmission biology. Malaria is caused by the protozoan parasite Plasmodium that is transmitted between humans by Anopheles mosquitoes. The malaria parasite populations undergo dramatic losses in the mosquito vector due to robust mosquito immune responses, especially during the ookinete-to-oocyst developmental transition in the mosquito midgut. Specific parasite surface proteins are shown to provide resistance to these immune responses. Thus, the mosquito midgut stages of malaria infection offer an attractive system to study host-parasite interactions and are ideal targets for malaria transmission blocking.
-Dissecting the mechanisms and characterizing key regulators of parasite development in the mosquito midgut;
-Characterizing malaria parasite molecules involved in parasite-vector interactions and providing resistance to the mosquito immune responses;
-Identifying novel parasite and mosquito targets for transmission blocking.
Ukegbu CV, Giorgalli M, Tapanelli S, Rona LDP, Jaye A, Wyer C, Angrisano F, Blagborough AM, Christophides GK and Vlachou D (2019) Plasmodium PIMMS43 is required for ookinete evasion of the mosquito complement-like response and sporogonic development in the oocyst (PNAS, in press)
Epigenetic regulation underlying Plasmodium berghei gene expression during its developmental transition from host to vector (2019) Witmer K, Fraschka SAK, Vlachou D, Bártfai R, Christophides GK (SCIENTIFIC REPORTS in press; BioRxiv; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/646430)
Ukegbu CV, Akinosoglou KA, Christophides GK, (2017) Plasmodium berghei PIMMS2 Promotes Ookinete Invasion of the Anopheles gambiae Mosquito Midgut, INFECTION AND IMMUNITY, Vol: 85, ISSN: 0019-9567
Ukegbu CV, Giorgalli M, Yassine H, 2017) Plasmodium berghei P47 is essential for ookinete protection from the Anopheles gambiae complement-like response, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, Vol: 7, ISSN: 2045-2322
et al., 2015, Transcriptional silencing and activation of paternal DNA during Plasmodium berghei zygotic development and transformation to oocyst, Cellular Microbiology, Vol:17, ISSN:1462-5822, Pages:1230-1240
et al., 2015, Characterization of Plasmodium developmental transcriptomes in Anopheles gambiae midgut reveals novel regulators of malaria transmission, Cellular Microbiology, Vol:17, ISSN:1462-5814, Pages:254-268
Schlegelmilch T, Vlachou D, 2013, Cell biological analysis of mosquito midgut invasion: the defensive role of the actin-based ookinete hood, Pathogens and Global Health, Vol:107, ISSN:2047-7724, Pages:480-492
et al., 2011, Infection Intensity-Dependent Responses of Anopheles gambiae to the African Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum, Infection and Immunity, Vol:79, ISSN:0019-9567, Pages:4708-4715
et al., 2008, Conserved mosquito/parasite interactions affect development of Plasmodium falciparum in Africa, PLOS Pathogens, Vol:4, ISSN:1553-7366
et al., 2007, Evolutionary dynamics of immune-related genes and pathways in disease-vector mosquitoes, Science, Vol:316, ISSN:0036-8075, Pages:1738-1743
et al., 2006, The developmental migration of Plasmodium in mosquitoes, Current Opinion in Genetics & Development, Vol:16, ISSN:0959-437X, Pages:384-391
Vlachou D, Kafatos FC, 2005, The complex interplay between mosquito positive and negative regulators of Plasmodium development, Current Opinion in Microbiology, Vol:8, ISSN:1369-5274, Pages:415-421
et al., 2005, Functional genomic analysis of midgut epithelial responses in Anopheles during Plasmodium invasion, Current Biology, Vol:15, ISSN:0960-9822, Pages:1185-1195
et al., 2004, Real-time, in vivo analysis of malaria ookinete locomotion and mosquito midgut invasion, Cellular Microbiology, Vol:6, ISSN:1462-5814, Pages:671-685
Christophides GK, Vlachou D, Kafatos FC, 2004, Comparative and functional genomics of the innate immune system in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae, Immunological Reviews, Vol:198, ISSN:0105-2896, Pages:127-148
et al., 2002, Immunity-related genes and gene families in Anopheles gambiae, Science, Vol:298, ISSN:0036-8075, Pages:159-165
et al., 2001, Anopheles gambiae laminin interacts with the P25 surface protein of Plasmodium berghei ookinetes, Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology, Vol:112, ISSN:0166-6851, Pages:229-237
et al., 2000, Distinct roles for Pbs21 and Pbs25 in the in vitro ookinete to oocyst transformation of Plasmodium berghei, Journal of Cell Science, Vol:113, ISSN:0021-9533, Pages:3419-3426
et al., 1997, The autosomal chorion locus of the medfly Ceratitis capitata .1. Conserved synteny, amplification and tissue specificity but sequence divergence and altered temporal regulation, Genetics, Vol:147, ISSN:0016-6731, Pages:1829-1842