Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SPARk (Adding Pieces to the Puzzle of Sexual Differentiation In P. falciparum: A Systematic Analysis of RNA Processing)
Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2018-03-31
The aim of this proposal is to provide insight how these RNA-binding proteins contribute to sexual stage-specific gene expression. This project employs genetic approaches to investigate the role of these proteins during sexual development of P. falciparum. For that I will generate transgenic parasites and analyse the resulting phenotype in detail. Additionally, this study aims at characterisation the splicing activity of recombinantly produced proteins and to determine target RNAs in order to elucidate the underlying mechanism of RNA processing control.
This proposal can contribute to improved health conditions in malaria-endemic countries through a better understanding of malaria transmission and new approaches to treat the disease. Completion of the scientific project in combination with the proposed structured acquisition of professional skills will enable me to reintegrate into the European research community.
Another important aspect of the SPARk project was to provide continuous professional development for myself; thus enabling the acquisition of an independent research position. I successfully finished a course focusing on continuous professional training, especially designed for young researchers. The hessian Centre for Didactics (Giessen, Germany) offers the certified course ‘Competencies for Professional Teaching’. This programme targets the structured development of teaching and leadership competencies over the course of 2-3 years by covering a wide range of fields such as teaching, preparing exams, managing conflicts, and providing equal opportunities. Additionally, I supervised four Master and three Bachelor students thus far, helping me prepare for the multi-faceted roles of supervisor, mentor, and project manager. Recently, I was able to attain a leading independent research position, as group leader within the LOEWE Center ‘DRUID: Novel Drug Targets against Poverty-Related and Neglected Tropical Infectious Diseases’.