Liverpool's leading international reputation in infection research, tropical medicine and global health stretches back over 150 years.
We use the latest functional genomic and proteomic techniques to understand the basic biology of parasites that cause endemic intestinal diseases in humans, such as cryptosporidiosis, giardiasis and amoebiasis, in the UK and worldwide. We use advanced 3D tissue culture models to study host-pathogen interactions at the intestinal epithelium, with particular emphasis on apicomplexan parasites.
Our research is revealing the genomic basis to complex disease mechanisms like antigenic variation in trypanosomatid parasites, which cause neglected tropical diseases such as human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) and leishmaniaisis.
Research addressing human parasitic infections takes place at the new IC2 laboratories on the city centre campus. Our aim is to understand the molecular and physiological mechanisms of parasitic infections, as a basis for improving global health through novel disease interventions and therapies.
Using state-of-the-art imaging techniques, we are also investigating how parasites, such as Toxoplasma gondii, can evade and manipulate host immune responses for their own benefit. A large part of our research into parasite genomes is aimed at antigenic discovery, for example, of novel cell-surface invasion proteins in the malaria parasite; knowledge that will increase our appreciation of host-pathogen interactions, while facilitating vaccine design.
With respect to worm infections, we study the filarial parasites that cause onchocerciasis (river blindness) and lymphatic filariasis, including major programmes on vaccine development and the function of a bacterial symbiont in these worms (Wolbachia), which has become a novel target for antibiotic therapy.
Finally, we investigate the molecular biology and behaviour of medically-important vectors such as the chigger mites, which transmit scrub typhus.
The University of Liverpool’s Institute of Infection and Global Health was established to bring together leading medical, veterinary and basic science researchers from across the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. It also complements other strengths in Liverpool, including the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, the Wolfson Centre for Personalised Medicine, the Medicines for Children Research Network, and the Wellcome Trust Tropical Centre with its associated PhD programme. We also enjoy close and active collaboration with NHS colleagues through the Liverpool Health Partners Academic Health Science System.
We particularly welcome research proposals that match those of our researchers, including: