Genetic dissection of mechanisms of Plasmodium invasion

Genetic dissection of mechanisms of Plasmodium invasion

Project details

Plasmodium parasite invasion into and replication within red blood cells is a critical step in malaria infection. This project will deploy advanced techniques to make important discoveries in critical steps involved in parasite-red cell interactions.

The student will use novel cellular models, together with genome editing (CRISPR-Cas9)-based techniques, along with whole genome sequencing and live cell imaging, to delineate new pathways of parasite invasion. Following these approaches, the student will have opportunities to validate their discoveries using an array of in vivo and cellular techniques.

About our research group

We are a multidisciplinary group combining experimental science with global health. 

The Pasricha laboratory studies the regulation of the master controller of systemic iron homoestasis, hepcidin. In addition, we study mechanisms by which erythropoiesis and anaemia affect hepcidin expression. We also use cutting edge techniques to study red blood cell development. In the field, we are undertaking three large trials of iron interventions: in rural Bangladesh (infants) and Malawi (infants, pregnant women). These trials will provide much needed evidence to inform global anaemia policies. Samples from these trials will be available for cutting edge analyses including the microbiome, CyTOF, and molecular charactersation. We also assist and advise international organisations with policy development.

The Cowman laboratory applies a range of technologies to understand how Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes the most severe form of malaria, infects humans and causes disease. In particular, the lab have made many discoveries of the mechanisms of critical red blood cell – parasite interactions.


Dr Sant-Rayn Pasricha

Dr Sant-Rayn Pasricha
Joint Division Head

Professor Alan Cowman

Alan Cowman standing in a laboratory
Laboratory Head; Deputy Director, Science Strategy

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