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Schistosomes are parasites that cause the neglected tropical disease, human schistosomiasis, endemic in over 70 developing countries and affecting over 250 million people. Schistosomes have a complex lifecycle involving various life stages that either parasitize a human definitive host, an aquatic snail intermediate host, or that enable transmission between hosts. During infection of the definitive host, the parasite transforms from a cercaria, released from the snail, to a parasitic schistosomule, which initially resides in the skin. The parasite then grows and develops into adult male and female worms that live in the vasculature and cause pathology by laying eggs. Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are evolutionarily conserved proteins that play a key role in the cellular biology of organisms and also their responses to stress. This project aims to elucidate the importance of selected HSP proteins to schistosome biology, particularly in the context of the surface layer of the parasite that interfaces with the host blood, host-parasite interactions, and schistosome development. The project will provide much needed insight into the molecular nature of the HSPs in this important parasite and will provide the student with training modern cell biology techniques as applied to and molecular parasitology.
Laboratory work has always been very interesting for me and exploring deeper into the science of life is my greatest ambition and hobby.