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Bioscience Program Seminar - Abhinay Ramaprasad

Start Date: March 22, 2017
End Date: March 22, 2017

​​TITLE: My Fair Pathogen- making a model out of a malaria parasite
DATE: Wednesday, March 22, 2017
TIME: 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Building 2 · Level 5 · Room 5220

Rodent malaria parasites (RMPs) serve as tractable models for experimental genetics, and as valuable tools to study malaria parasite biology and host-parasite-vector interactions. Plasmodium vinckei, one of four RMPs adapted to mice models, is the most geographically widespread species and displays considerable phenotypic and genotypic diversity amongst its subspecies and strains. This diversity makes P. vinckei particularly suitable for classical genetics and genomics-driven studies on malaria parasite biology. There has been no systematic effort to phenotypically and genotypically characterize the P. vinckei parasites, hampering its use as an experimental model for malaria. Here, we have studied the phenotypes and sequenced the genomes and transcriptomes of 10 P. vinckei isolates including representatives of all five subspecies, all of which were collected from wild thicket rats in sub-Saharan Central Africa between the late 1940s and mid 1960s. Finally, based on the resource we created, we selected and made a genetic cross of two isolates that differed in their virulence phenotypes and applied Linkage Group Selection (LGS) to identify genes linked to parasite virulence.
Abhinay is a final year PhD student with Professor Arnab Pain. After completing his Bachelor of Technology in Biotechnology at SASTRA University, India, he joined KAUST as a Masters student in 2010 and the Pathogen Genomics Lab in 2011. His main research interest is to study malaria biology by applying genomics and transcriptomics driven approaches. His doctoral project (under the joint supervision of Dr. Richard Culleton, Nagasaki University) involves developing a comprehensive resource of phenotypic and genotypic variations within isolates of a rodent malaria parasite- Plasmodium vinckei. Apart from this, Abhinay has contributed to several other studies with a focus on Apicomplexan parasite biology.