Pegine Walrad
Anniversary Research Lecturer

Profile

Biography

Pegine Walrad is an Anniversary Research Lecturer in Molecular Parasitology appointed to the Department of Biology in celebration of the University of York’s 50th Anniversary and a member of the Centre for Immunology and Infection. Training originally as a zoologist at Michigan State University (BSc) and veterinary nurse (NC, USA), Pegine developed research interests in pathology, molecular biology, and developmental genetics during her PhD working on flies and yeast at Stony Brook University, NY.  Pegine shifted fields to molecular parasitology when she secured a Wellcome Trust-funded Post Doctoral position examining developmental regulators of the Trypanosoma brucei lifecycle at the University of Edinburgh. She is currently developing her independent research career in Leishmania spp. parasitology at the University of York and was recently awarded a prestigious New Investigator Research Grant by the MRC to pursue trans-regulators of Leishmania spp. differentiation to human-infectious forms.

Career

Michigan State University

  • BSc in Zoology

Stony Brook University, NY

  • PhD in Molecular Cell Biology, Developmental Genetics track

Edinburgh University

  • Post-doctoral Fellow

University of York

  • Research Lecturer (2013)

 

Professional organisations

  • Member of British Society for Parasitology
  • Member of Society of Biology
  • Member of RNA Society
  • Member of Biochemical Society
  • Member of Genetics Society of America (former)

 

Research

Overview

  • Leishmania spp.
  • Trypanosoma brucei
  • Pathogen genetics
  • Developmental regulators
  • RNA biology
  • Leishmania motility parameters

Pegine’s laboratory works on kinetoplastid parasites which cause human disease worldwide; afflicting the poorest of society. The Leishmaniases currently infect 12 million people with 2 million new cases annually. It is the second biggest killer of parasitic diseases and 70% of those infected are under 15yrs old. No vaccine exists, available treatments have toxic side effects and resistance to existing treatments is on the rise.

Research centers on regulators of Leishmania parasite differentiation that enable human leukocyte infection, with emphasis on post-transcriptional control as the primary mode of gene regulation. Leishmania parasites infect distinct host environments and this requires concise and responsive adaptation to survive. Gene regulators and signaling pathways that initiate parasite response to host cells and enable adaptation have yet to be identified and are key to combating the diseases caused by these parasites. Regulatory systems enabling parasite development are characterized using a combination of molecular, biochemical, genetic and bioinformatic techniques, utilising transcriptomic and proteomic approaches to isolate human-infectious stage specific regulators.

Technologies

  • Parasite genetics, RNA Biology, comparative transcriptomics and proteomics, high speed 3D microscopy

Current Lab Members:

  • Dr. Tiago Ferriera, MRC PDRA (former CNPq Fellow)
  • Dr. Nidhi Dey, MRC GCRF PDRA (joint with Kaye and Lagos labs)
  • Rachel Findlay, WT PhD student (joint with Wilson lab)
  • Ewan Parry, Biology PhD student (joint with Mottram lab)
  • Kirstin Spence, BBSRC PhD student (joint with Bryant lab)
  • Edward Nay, BBSRC PhD student (joint with Plevin lab)
  • Shannon Massey, Int MSc student (joint with Bryant and Pitchford labs)

Former Lab Members:

  • Dr. Joe Doehl (PDRA 2014)
  • Dr. Luis Miguel de Pablos Torro (PDRA 2014-6)
  • Jan Shamsani (MSc)
  • Georgette Tanner (MSc)
  • Alexej Vrublevskis

Grants

Current:

  • Lead PI: UK-Brazil Neglected Infectious Diseases Partnership Grant, Medical Research Council UK, 2016-19, £319K, Regulating the trans-regulators: Investigating the PRMT7 molecular pathway as an epigenetic regulator of Leishmania spp. virulence, joint w/ M Plevin (U York, BioPhysics) and AK Cruz (U Sao Paulo, Med Sch.)
  • Co-PI: Global Challenges Research Fund, MRC, UK, 2017-19, £464K, Towards a global research network for the molecular pathological stratification of leishmaniasis, joint w/ PM Kaye, D Lagos (HYMS) and P Revill (U York) 

Host PI: 

  • Wellcome Trust PhD Studentship, joint w/ L Wilson (U York, Physics) 2015-2018
  • Dept of Biology PhD Studentship, joint w/ J Mottram (U York, Biology) 2017-2020
  • BBSRC-funded PhD Studentship, joint w/ N Bryant (U York, Biology) 2017-2021 
  • BBSRC-funded PhD Studentship, joint w/ M Plevin (U York, BioPhysics) 2017-2021

Recent:

  • Lead PI: New Investigator Research Grant; MRC, UK, 2013-17, £584K Investigating and Characterising Developmental Regulators of Human Infectious Leishmania
  • Lead PI: RCUK-CONFAP Research Partnership, Newton Fund/RCUK/CONFAP, 2015, £65K Biochemical investigation of the enzyme PRMT7 function in Leishmania spp. parasite infectivity; screening targets for Leishmaniasis relevance, joint w/ AK Cruz (U Sao Paulo, Med Sch.)
  • Host PI: Science without Borders Post Doctoral Fellowship (CNPq), Awarded to T Ferreira, 2015-2016
  • Host PI: 4 MSc student projects, 8 BSc final year undergraduate projects (U York, Biology) 2013-2016

Available PhD research projects

None currently

Contact details

Dr Pegine Walrad
Anniversary Research Lecturer
Centre for Immunology and Infection
University of York
Heslington
York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 328918
Fax: 01904 328844