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Department of Biochemistry


The molecular basis and evolution of host-parasite interactions in African trypanosomes

There are multiple species of African trypanosome that can each infect multiple mammalian hosts. Together they are the causative agents of both human and animal African trypanosomiasis, with bovine trypanosomiasis acting as a major constraint to cattle farming across sub-Saharan Africa. Successful infection and transmission of African trypanosomes relies on their ability to detect, interact with, and adapt to their environment. As extracellular parasites, the trypanosome cell surface acts as the molecular interface between the parasite and its external environment and functions in nutrient acquisition, signalling, and countering host innate and adaptive immune attack.

Current work in the lab aims to understand and exploit the molecular and cellular biology of the interaction between African trypanosomes and their external environment in the mammalian host. This includes characterisation of diverse trypanosome surface proteins; comparative high resolution spatial mapping of the global proteomes of trypanosome species; and exploitation of receptor-mediated ligand uptake for the targeted delivery of biological therapeutics into trypanosomes.

Work in the lab is funded by a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship (May 2017 – Feb 2023)


Current Lab Members

Dr Nicola Moloney (Postdoctoral research associate)

Alice McDowell (BBSRC PhD student)



Previous Lab Members

Nathan Parker (Part II Biochemistry Undergraduate)

Laura Rustarazo Calvo (Erasmus+ Intern)


Contact Details

Dr Paula MacGregor
Department of Biochemistry
University of Cambridge
Tennis Court Road


Twitter: @MacGregor_Lab