The Mottram laboratory works on the molecular genetics, cell biology and biochemistry of the parasitic protozoa that cause neglected tropical diseases such as leishmaniasis and Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT). The primary research goal of the laboratory is to understand the molecular mechanisms by which Leishmania and Trypanosoma parasites undergo cellular remodelling during their complex life cycles. The laboratory’s focus is on cell signalling pathways that are regulated by protein kinases and the turnover of proteins and organelles that occur through the action of peptidases associated with endocytic and autophagic pathways.
The laboratory is also interested virulence factors that influence the host-parasite interaction, with a particular focus on natural peptidase inhibitors, natural variation in the Leishmania genome and new methods for monitoring disease progression. Our ultimate goal is to identify novel molecular mechanisms that can be exploited for the development of anti-parasite therapies.
My teaching is inspired by the latest biomedical research and encourages students to contribute to the stimulating process of knowledge creation, by participating in basic research on infectious diseases – using both theoretical and practical elements. As a biologist who applies molecular genetic and cellular approaches to study parasites, my teaching covers a broad range of topics from genes to cells and from basic science to applied drug discovery.
My tutorials cover many aspects of infectious disease research, with a focus on neglected tropical diseases. We discuss appropriate measures to detect, prevent and control disease, as well as international efforts aimed at eliminating or eradicating tropical diseases. We also discuss how basic research will underpin the development of novel therapeutics. Tutorials provide students with the opportunity to improve their presentations skills, critically evaluate the published literature and engage in debate on topical subjects.
My laboratory offers projects related to ongoing research on parasitic protozoa. Students work day-to-day with postgraduate and postdoctoral lab members on either laboratory or computer based projects. They are expected to attend laboratory meetings and contribute to discussions about their research. Laboratory work often include parasite culture, parasite CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing, microscopy, protein expression and purification. Computer based work includes data analysis of genomic, transcriptomic or proteomic datasets. Projects offer students an insight into what goes on in a research laboratory and the opportunity to contribute with their own research in the fight against neglected tropical diseases.