Research objectives and content
Plasmodia are mosquito-borne protozoa which cause malaria. For successful transmission, the protozoa must evade the mosquito immune response. Insect endoparasites (endoparasitoids) suppress the immune system, specifically the encapsulation response, of their insect hosts by utilising viruses and virus-like particles (VLPs). Plasmodia are also known to contain VLPs, exclusively during stages of its lifecycle which occur within the mosquito vector. Morphological, cytochemical and molecular characterisation will reveal the true nature of the VLPs within Plasmodium and provide the basis for the assessment of their role in immune evasion.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
Dr.Brey's research group at the Pasteur Institute, which is currently researching the molecular biology and biochemistry of encapsulation within the anopheline malaria vectors, provides a unique opportunity to carry out this proposal. In addition, the extensive expertise in microbiology at the Pasteur Institute, especially in the fields of electron microscopy and virology will give me an opportunity to learn new techniques and explore novel approaches to the study of the parasite-vector relationship. Collaboration with this research group would allow me to broaden the knowledge of vector-parasite interactions acquired as part of my PhD and explore novel mechanisms to combat malaria through the application of a challenging new approach.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)