Parks Group: Antibody Genes and Infectious Disease Susceptibility
Affiliated with Imperial College London : https://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/t.parks
Diseases caused the human-restricted bacterial pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes.
I am interested in understanding how the genetics of the host influence susceptibility to infectious and inflammatory disease.
The main focus of this work has been the diverse diseases caused the human-restricted bacterial pathogen, Streptococcus pyogenes, which is also known as the Group A streptococcus. These include not only common superficial infections, such as pharyngitis and impetigo, but also invasive infections, such as necrotising fasciitis and streptococcal toxic shock, and post-infective sequelae, such as rheumatic heart disease and post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis. Together these diseases account for an estimated 0.5 million deaths each year worldwide and yet at present there is no licensed S. pyogenes vaccine.
Building on my earlier work on susceptibility to rheumatic heart disease, I am now focussed on understanding how complex genetic regions such as the immunoglobulin gene loci influence acquisition of antibody-mediated immunity. My strategy involves using a combination of array genotyping and short-read sequencing alongside more targeted long-read approaches. In the longer term, I expect to be able to exploit these approaches to assist development of much needed vaccines and therapeutics to combat disease caused by a wide range of infectious agents