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Human schistosomiasis infects around 250 million people in over 70 developing countries and a further 0.8 billion people are at risk of infection. During schistosome development, rapid growth and physiological change during the skin to late liver somule transition is impressive, understudied and is most vital for long-term survival in the human definitive host. One drug, praziquantel, is used for the treatment of schistosomiasis and this has been used in monotherapy for several decades. Although praziquantel effectively kills adult worms, it is less effective against more juvenile forms and there is significant concern about emerging resistance. My research on Schistosoma mansoni aims to develop a better understanding of the biology of the pre-adult intra-mammalian schistosome life stages, particularly the early and late liver stages, with a specific focus on their stem cell biology and anticipates to discover novel approaches to kill schistosomes.
After completing my undergraduate degree in biomedical science with a first class and my master's degree in cancer biology with a distinction, I am working on my PhD on Schistosoma mansoni somatic stem cells. My undergraduate project investigated the alternative splicing of Txnip gene in type 2 diabetes and my master's project was based on FGFR signalling in breast cancer.