Imperial College London

Professor Jake Baum

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences

Professor of Cell Biology and Infectious Diseases



+44 (0)20 7594 5420jake.baum Website




609Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Throughout its complex lifecycle the malaria parasites, from the genus Plasmodium, must traverse tissues and invade a diversity of host cells to ensure successful propagation of their lifecycle. Each lifecycle stage is exquisitely designed for cell movement, tissue targeting and host cell invasion, yet we still do not understand the basic mechanics of how the parasite motor produces force and translates this into powerful movement or cell penetration. Unlike all other eukaryotic cells, the malaria parasites rely on an internal actin-myosin motor, linked through to the outside world through secreted surface adhesins across which it literally glides.

Our lab is focused on reconstructing Plasmodium gliding motor function in vitro, its regulation and in a cellular context exploring how the core factors that control motility are distributed. Our work covers the spectrum of scales from single molecule through to whole cell, biochemistry through structural biology and cell biology and, since moving to Imperial, the mysterious world of biophysics.

Ultimately our goal is to break apart Plasmodium motility at every level to generate fundamental understanding into parasite biology and identify potential targets to stop the parasite dead in its tracks!



Wang X, Wilkinson MD, Lin X, et al., 2020, Correction: Single-molecule nanopore sensing of actin dynamics and drug binding, Chemical Science, Vol:11, ISSN:2041-6520, Pages:8036-8038

Baum J, Pasvol G, Carter R, 2020, From 1950s malaria to COVID-19, Nature, Vol:582, ISSN:0028-0836, Pages:488-488

Saunders CN, Cota E, Baum J, et al., 2020, Peptide probes for Plasmodium falciparum MyoA tail interacting protein (MTIP): exploring the druggability of the malaria parasite motor complex, Acs Chemical Biology, Vol:15, ISSN:1554-8929, Pages:1313-1320

Ashdown G, Gaboriau D, Baum J, A machine learning approach to define antimalarial drug action from heterogeneous cell-based screens, Science Advances, ISSN:2375-2548

Llora-Batlle O, Michel-Todo L, Witmer K, et al., 2020, Conditional expression of PfAP2-G for controlled massive sexual conversion in Plasmodium falciparum, Science Advances, Vol:6, ISSN:2375-2548

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