Function, structure and evolution of an important conserved protein family in malaria parasites

Christiaan van Ooij (primary)
Infection Biology
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Tracey Barrett (secondary)
Dept of Biological Sciences
Birkbeck College


The Fam-a family of phospholipid transfer proteins is present in all malaria parasites. Interestingly, this family has expanded greatly in rodent malaria parasites. Despite its conservation, the role of this protein family remains entirely unknown, although its conservation points to an important function in parasite survival and pathogenesis. This project will investigate the biochemical and cellular function of this family through in vitro assays and genetic modification of the parasite, followed by phenotypic analysis in culture and during mosquito infections. Function and divergence of the members of the family will be further investigated by determination of protein structures through crystallography.


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Plants, microbes, food and sustainability
Area of Biology
Cell BiologyMicrobiology
Techniques & Approaches
BiochemistryMicroscopy / ElectrophysiologyMolecular Biology