Our group is focussed on host-pathogen interactions, with a particular focus on the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. We are taking a range of experimental and computational approaches to try to understand interactions that have been discovered so far (described in Band et el 2021 and Hamilton et al 2023), and building datasets and methods to search for currently unknown interactions.
Genomic interactions form a rich area of study. One reason is that any interaction that affects the success of parasites to transmit (or that affects the ability of humans to survive their infections) places selective pressure on the populations. Rapid genome evolution is often a result. Because of this we are interested in complex regions of the parasite and human genomes, and in methods and technologies that can resolve structural variants and other complex variation. To this end we have been developing methods to use long-read sequencing to assemble genomes and resolve variation in some of the most complex genome regions - including those encoding the immune system (e.g. as described in Zhang et al 2021).