Our work centers on basic RNA and infection biology, with a focus on small RNAs, extracellular vesicles and RNA trafficking in host-pathogen systems. With funding from the Wellcome Trust we have developed many collaborations over the last 5 years to carry this out through multidisciplinary approaches, and to advance basic findings towards translational outcomes.
We maintain collaborations with Rick Maizels’ lab and Simon Babayan’s lab for aspects of our helminth research and Mark Blaxter’s lab for nematode genomics. We have shared PhD students with immunologists looking to examine the roles of small RNAs in their models, including Judi Allen and Rose Zamoyska. Our studies in viral models have involved collaborations with Bernadette Dutia , Jurgen Schwarze and Pip Beard’s lab and have been funded by the BBSRC and Scottish Enterprise.
In the last three years we have built a collaboration with Julie Claycomb and Cei Abreu-Goodger to explore whether and how RNA-mediated cross species communication can occur in host-pathogen systems, with funding from the Human Frontiers in Science program.
We have also extended the helminth extracellular RNA studies towards analysis of their biomarker potential in filarial infection. This has involved many collaborators in the UK, Germany, Cameroon and USA, including Ken Pfarr, Achim Hoerauf, Ben Makepeace, Sam Wanji and microRNA diagnostic companies.