Boothroyd Lab In the Department of Microbiology & Immunology


Current Group




John Boothroyd


Ph.D. (Edinburgh)


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


Lab support.


Nicole Blackburn

Grad. Student

B.A. (Rice)


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


Ph.D. (Berkeley)


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


Ph.D. (Berkeley)


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

Pascale Guiton



Ph.D. (Washington University)


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.]
Felice Kelly Post-doc

Ph.D. (Rockefeller)


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.]

Margaret Nakamoto Grad. Student

BA (University of Pennsylvania)


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.]
Adit Naor Post-doctoral Fellow

PhD (Tel Aviv)


What makes the infectious protozoan Toxoplasma gondii such an extraordinary generalist? [Identification of host  specific genes and adaptation to different hosts] 
Michael Panas Post-doc

PhD (Harvard)


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.]

Suchita Rastogi

Graduate Student

B.A. (Washington Univ)


Identifying the machinery employed by Toxoplasma gondii to inject effector proteins into host cells




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