In princple, our laboratory is a molecular parasitology lab which
originally focused on the metabolic adaptations of microbial eukaryotes
to low oxygen or complete lack of oxygen (see for examples: Nature (2003) 426, 172-176, Current Biology (2008) 18, 580-585 and Current Biology (2014) 24, 1176-1186). Research includes major human pathogens such as Entamoeba histolytica, Trichomonas vaginalis and Blastocystis and our aim is to understand their unusual biochemistry as these might lead to new drug targets.
New parasites in the group are those from the genus Aphanomyces.
These parasites include causative agents of two notifyable diseases:
crayfish plague and epizootic ulcerative syndrome in fish.
addition, we study microbial eukaryotes found in low-oxygen
environments such as the rumen and termite hindgut as these
micro-organisms have an extended repertoire of active enzymes that are
useful for biofuel and other industrial purposes. Rumen microbes also
play a major role in animal nutrition so this work has importance for
food security as well.
A recent new research direction
involves the use of algae to regenerate mine waste, this is an
extension of our involvement in the genome of Emiliania huxleyi (Nature (2013) 499, 209-213). This work is part of the GW4+ AVaRICE project.
Our lab uses a variety of techniques to answer our research questions.
Molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics and
next-generation sequencing methods are routinely used.