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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. We aim to understand and exploit the molecular and cellular biology of the interaction between African trypanosomes and their external environment in the mammalian host.

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


Research objectives

  • Characterisation of diverse trypanosome surface proteins.

  • Comparative high-resolution spatial mapping of the global proteomes of trypanosome species.

  • Exploitation of receptor-mediated ligand uptake for the targeted delivery of biological therapeutics into trypanosomes.


Key publications

MacGregor P, Gonzalez-Munoz AL, Jobe F, Taylor MC, Rust S, Sandercock AM, Macleod OJS, Van Bocxlaer K, Francisco AF, D'Hooge F, Tiberghien A, Barry CS, Howard P, Higgins MK, Vaughan TJ, Minter R, Carrington M (2019). A single dose of antibody-drug conjugate cures a stage 1 model of African trypanosomiasis. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis., 13(5):e0007373. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0007373

Lane-Serff H, MacGregor P, Peacock L, Macleod OJ, Kay C, Gibson W, Higgins MK, Carrington M (2016). Evolutionary diversification of the trypanosome haptoglobin-haemoglobin receptor from an ancestral haemoglobin receptor. eLife, 5:e13044. doi: 10.7554/eLife.13044

Paula MacGregor has relocated to the University of Bristol, but remains a Visiting Researcher in our Department until December 2022.

Contact details

Research Group Leader  Paula MacGregor


Location  Hopkins Building


The MacGregor Group is accepting enquiries from prospective interns, undergraduate students, postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers to be located at the University of Bristol. The MacGregor Group is not currently accepting enquiries from prospective students or staff to be located at the University of Cambridge.