Some of the most widespread infectious diseases of man are caused by helminth parasites, typically long-lived and persistent pathogens which are estimated to infect over one third of the world population, predominantly in developing countries. They are responsible for an enormous global burden of disease that does not receive sufficient funding for treatment, control and research. In common with protozoal parasites, no vaccines have yet been developed to counter helminth infection in people. In addition to their impact on human health, infection of livestock places a major burden on the world economy. There is a global trend towards development of resistance against the major classes of drugs used to control helminth infection, with sparse investment in discovery of new targets or development of new compounds.
Recent years have seen rapid advances in our understanding of the mechanisms underlying immunity to helminths. At the same time, it has become apparent that parasites in turn utilise sophisticated mechanisms to suppress the host immune system. Our research programme is aimed at understanding how nematode (roundworm) parasites in particular effect long-term survival in mammalian hosts, with a particular focus on molecular mechanisms underlying regulation of the host immune system and resistance to immunity. We hope that these advances will lead to new drugs and vaccines to treat parasitic infection, in addition to new approaches to treat inflammation, allergy and autoimmunity.
Molecular Helminthology, an Integrated Approach, Elsevier, San Antonio, 2019
Molecular and Cellular Biology of Helminth Parasites XI, Bratsera Hotel, Hydra, 2018
Cholinergic signaling in the immune system, CNRS, Orleans, 2018
Workshop on Parasitic Nematodes, New York University Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, 2018