Schistosoma mansoni causes human schistosomiasis with 55 million infected within sub-Saharan Africa alone. Adult male and female schistosomes must pair and remain paired to complete/sustain maturation and enable egg production; this must be facilitated by molecular signalling between the sexes. However, such interactions have not been explored in detail. It is also not known how worms might recognize (sense) one another in the host vasculature. Signal transduction via reversible protein phosphorylation regulates fundamental cellular processes in eukaryotes including growth, development, differentiation and apoptosis. Although considerable insight has been gained into phosphorylation-dependent signalling in mammals, and invertebrates, understanding of cell signalling mechanisms in schistosomes is relatively poor. The schistosome kinome contains ~252 putative eukaryotic protein kinases with all main kinase groups present.
The aim of my research is to examine molecular signalling between adult male and female worms, and to identify the nature of the molecule(s) involved.
My passion for Cell Biology began whilst undertaking my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at Kingston University. Where I conducted my third year dissertation on Cell Signalling in Dugesia with Professor Tony Walker. I thoroughly enjoyed working with these fascinating organisms and learning about protein Kinase pathways. This has led me to continue with this passion and aspire to learn more. I'm now in my 4th year of PhD part time.
Whilst studying I also work part time as a Post graduate laboratory support member and as an academic advisor. I have also been awarded an Associate Fellowship in Higher Education from AdvanceHE at Kingston University.