The major research interest of my laboratory is in the cell biology of the flagellated protozoan parasites Trypanosoma brucei and Leishmania major. My interest in these organisms is two-fold: firstly because these organisms are parasites of medical and veterinary importance; and secondly because they are useful model organisms in which to study the biogenesis of the eukaryotic flagellum. As in most eukaryotic cells, the flagellum of these protozoan cells possess a typical 9+2 microtubule axonemal structure consisting of 9 outer doublet microtubules and a pair of central singlet microtubules.
As part of a BBSRC funded initiative my lab is collaborating with Prof. Keith Gull (Sir William Dunn School of Patholgy, University of Oxford) and Prof. Simon Gaskell (UMIST, Manchester) to compile a complete proteomic catelogue of proteins required to build the eukaryotic flagellum. By providing a better understanding of the molecular composition of the eukaryotic flagellum/cilium we aim to provide a greater awareness of diseases such as primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) that are characterised by functional and/or structural abnormalities of cilia (and sperm). In this project we are collaborating with Dr Hannah Mitchison and her colleagues at UCL, London who are currently mapping loci involved in the development of PCD.