Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences

Professor of Molecular Microbiology



+44 (0)20 7594 8137gloria.rudenko




Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Please see the Rudenko laboratory website for a full description of our research:

My research group studies African trypanosomes, which cause African Sleeping Sickness in sub-Saharan Africa. African trypanosomes are single-celled organisms which multiply extracellularly in the bloodstream of the infected mammalian host. Trypanosomes are very adept at changing their Variant Surface Glycoprotein (VSG) surface coat, allowing them to continuously escape from antibody attack during the course of a chronic infection. This continuous switching of the VSG surface coat is referred to as antigenic variation. We are studying the molecular mechanisms mediating antigenic variation in African trypanosomes. We are interested in how this protective VSG coat is synthesised, and how VSG protein is monitored during the trypanosome cell cycle. In addition, we are interested in how the transcription of VSG is regulated. Individual trypanosomes have many hundreds of VSG genes, of which only one VSG variant is expressed at a time. We are currently investigating how this stringent transcriptional control is mediated.

I am a Wellcome Senior Research Fellow/ Professor in Molecular Microbiology.  I have an M.Sc in Biochemistry from the University of Leiden, the Netherlands and a Ph.D in Molecular Biology from the University of Amsterdam on the basis of research performed in the Department of Genetics, Columbia University, New York, NY.  I did postdoctoral research on antigenic variation in African trypanosomes in the laboratory of Prof. Piet Borst at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam. I came to the UK as a Wellcome Senior Fellow in the Basic Biomedical Sciences at the University of Oxford, where I set up a research group in the Peter Medawar Building for Pathogen Research with an academic affiliation with the Department of Biochemistry.

My research group is located in the Sir Alexander Fleming Building on the Imperial College-South Kensington Campus.



Budzak J, Rudenko G, 2022, Pedal to the metal: nuclear splicing bodies turbo-charge VSG mRNA production in African trypanosomes, Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, Vol:10, ISSN:2296-634X

Budzak J, Jones R, Tschudi C, et al., 2022, An assembly of nuclear bodies associates with the active VSG expression site in African trypanosomes, Nature Communications, Vol:13, ISSN:2041-1723, Pages:1-17

Davies C, Cher-Pheng O, Sioutas G, et al., 2021, TbSAP is a novel chromatin protein repressing metacyclic variant surface glycoprotein expression sites in bloodstream form Trypanosoma brucei, Nucleic Acids Research, Vol:49, ISSN:0305-1048, Pages:3242-3262

Budzak J, Kerry LE, Aristodemou A, et al., 2019, Dynamic colocalization of 2 simultaneously active VSG expression sites within a single expression-site body in Trypanosoma brucei, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol:116, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:16561-16570

Ooi C-P, Smith TK, Gluenz E, et al., 2018, Blocking variant surface glycoprotein synthesis alters ERES/ Golgi homeostasis in Trypanosoma brucei, Traffic, Vol:19, ISSN:1398-9219, Pages:391-405

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