Boothroyd Lab In the Department of Microbiology & Immunology

 

Current Group


Name

Position/Degree

Project

John Boothroyd

Professor

Ph.D. (Edinburgh)

1979

The overall goal of the lab is to understand how does Toxoplasma infect and persist within a huge number of warm-blooded hosts and why does the outcome of that infection range from essentially no symptoms at all through to fatal encephalitis?

Lidia Barouh

Research Technician

B.Sc.

Lab support.

 

Nicole Blackburn

Grad. Student

B.A. (Rice)

2011

What triggers release of rhoptry proteins during invasion? [Something must trigger rhoptries to inject their contents into the host cell but the stimuli and signal transduction machinery for this are unknown.]

Kerry Buchholz

Post-doc

Ph.D. (Berkeley)

2007

How do secreted proteins facilitate bradyzoite invasion and persistence?  [Secreted proteins are presumed key to bradyzoite invasion and growth just as they are for tachyzoites but they are much less studied in this stage of asexual growth.]

Sarah Ewald

Post-doc

Ph.D. (Berkeley)

2010

What drives the innate immune response to Toxoplasma infection?  [Infection is rapidly detected by the host by means that are poorly understood.]

Magdalena Franco

Grad. Student

B.Sc. (San Jose State Univ)

2009

How are rhoptry proteins introduced into host cells?  [Rhoptries efficiently inject their contents into host cells during invasion by completely unknown mechanisms.]

Pascale Guiton

 

Post-doc

Ph.D. (Washington University)

2012

How do sporozoites, the product of sexual reproduction of Toxoplasma, co-opt host cell functions to initiate an infection in a new intermediate host? [Sporozoites express a very different arsenal of secreted proteins many of which are expected to serve as "effectors" that alter host cell function in ways beneficial to the invading parasite.]
Margaret Nakamoto

Grad. Student

BA (University of Pennsylvania)

2009

What is the role of pseudouridine synthase in the differentiation of tachyzoites into bradyzoites? [A screen for mutants with a defect in asexual differentiation identified a gene encoding a pseudouridine synthase - an enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of uridines to pseudouridines in RNA - as crucial but how such modifications impact differentiation is a complete mystery.]

Lena Pernas

Grad. Student

B.Sc. (UCLA)

2008

How are host mitochondria recruited to the PV membrane?  [Host mitochondria are rapidly recruited and found tightly apposed to the PV membrane in infected cells.]

Anya Poukchanski

Grad. Student

B.Sc. (MIT)

2008

What machinery do sporozoites, the product of sexual reproduction of Toxoplasma, use to invade a host cell? [Sporozoites alone express paralogues of at least two key proteins, AMA1 and RON2, that function during tachyzoite and bradyzoite invasion but how and why these alternative versions are deployed are not known.]

Michael Reese

Post-doc

Ph.D. (UCSF)

2005

How does the polymorphic family of ROP5 proteins impact virulence?  [ROP5 is the canonical member of a family of 5-10 pseudokinases that differ between strains and that play a major role in determining the virulence of a strain in mice but the biological function of ROP5 is unknown.]

Anjali Shastri

Grad. Student

B.Sc. (Berkeley)

2008

What is the molecular basis for how the predominant strains of Toxoplasma differ in their interaction with the host immune system?  [There are many genetic differences between Toxoplasma strains and these profoundly alter how infection is registered by an infected macrophage.]

Moritz Treeck

Post-doc

Ph.D. (Hamburg)

2009

What signaling events inside tachyzoites drive the invasion process?  [Invasion into a host cell is a highly orchestrated process that requires a cascade of signals and carefully sequenced deployment of many processes inside the tachyzoite.]

Felice Kelly

Post-doc

Ph.D. (Rockefeller)

2011

How are rhoptry proteins injected into the host cell? [Rhoptries are the source of the proteins that Toxoplasma uses to co-opt host functions but how the rhoptry contents are introduced into the host cell, which involves crossing three membranes[!], is not known.]

Michael Panas

Post-doc

PhD (Harvard)

2012

How do tachyzoites down-regulate the immune response?  [Tachyzoites somehow block ability of interferon-gamma to up-regulate the expression of MHC class II on the surface of infected cells.]

 

 

 

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