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Schistosoma japonicum is a leading cause of human and animal schistosomiasis, and is endemic across much of Asia. There is currently no effective vaccine against schistosomiasis and little is known about the full extent of genetic variation of Antigen Coding Genes (ACGs) within and between hosts infected with S. japonicum, nor is it known to what extent parasite populations infecting humans acquire novel ACG genotypes from S. japonicum populations infecting other mammalian hosts. By using archived parasite material, integrating molecular techniques, genomics and in silico protein modelling approaches, this project aims to assess the variation and frequency of ACGs genotypes in S. japonicum populations infecting humans, and aims to identify any shared antigen variants between humans and other mammals. Alongside uncovering some of the underlying causes of reduced vaccine efficacy, my project will begin to develop a foundation to assess the validity of potential vaccine targets against human schistosomiasis.
Whilst completing his BSc at Kingston University, Daniel conducted work in the moelcular parasitology lab, looking into elucidating the divergence of mitochondrial genomes in the zoonotic tropical liver fluke Fasciola gigantica from Africa and Asia, in order to assess its genetic diversity and current taxonomic position.
Daniel undertook his MSc research at The Natural History Museum, being involved in the SCAN and WISER research projects to support ground-breaking research - Studying the impact of trematode diversity on the monitoring of Schistosoma mansoni transmission in aquatic environments in Tanzania.
Daniel's key areas of research focus on the evolution and epidemiology of veterinary and medically important parasites and other Neglected Tropical Diseases. Daniel's PhD aims to further foster an interest in parasitology at the human-wildlife interface within a One Health framework, thereby taking a holistic approach to veterinary and human disease manifestations, parasite control and treatments, involving elucidating disease emergence and transmission.
Lawton, S. P., Jones, B. P., Awharitoma, A. O., Al-Aziz, S. A., Catalano, S., Collins, E., Leger, E., Parsons, D. A. J, Nelson, J., Webster, J. P. Divergence of mitochondrial genomes of the zoonotic tropical liver fluke Fasciola gigantica from Africa and Asia. – Awaiting imminent submission to Scientific Reports
D. A. J. Parsons (2020a) European bats discovered as hosts for leishmaniasis infection. Available at: http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bugbitten/2020/07/07/european-bats-discovered-as-hosts-for-leishmaniasis-infection/ (Accessed: Jul 9, 2020).
D. A. J. Parsons (2020b) War of the Worms. Available at: http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bugbitten/2020/03/27/war-of-the-worms/ (Accessed: Jul 9, 2020).