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Human schistosomiasis: the past haunting the present and the future


Date: 29 May 2013 | Time: 12.00pm-1.00pm | Venue: GLT3, WMS

Speaker: Dr Francisca Mutapi, Institute of Immunology & Infection Research, University of Edinburgh

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Schistosomiasis is a major human helminth infection endemic in developing countries. In Africa, schistosomiasis is second only to malaria in terms of impact on health and wellbeing. Our research group, the Parasite Immuno-epidemiology Group has been researching novel interventions as well as optimising currently available intervention methods.  Currently control of schistosome infection is by treatment of infected people with the antihelminthic drug praziquantel, but there are calls from several members of the Partners for Parasite Control for continued efforts to develop a vaccine against the parasites. In order for successful vaccination, it is necessary to understand the biology and molecular characteristics of the parasite. Ultimately there is need to understand the relationship and the dynamics between the parasite and the target host. It is already apparent from our studies and those of others that human responses to schistosome infection both in terms of immunopathology and acquired immunity are highly heterogeneous. One aim of our research group is to determine the factors giving rise to this heterogeneity including co-infections with other organisms and history of infection with schistosomes. This presentation will focus on our proteomic and immunological studies characterising the nature and development of human immune responses in schistosome endemic areas as well as the factors influencing the nature and development of these responses.


Recent Key references

1. Mutapi F, Billingsley PF, Secor WE: Infection and treatment immunizations for successful parasite vaccines. Trends Parasitol 2013, 29(3):135-141.

2. Appleby LJ, Nausch N, Midzi N, Mduluza T, Allen JE, Mutapi F: Sources of heterogeneity in human monocyte subsets. Immunol Lett 2013.

3. Bourke CD, Nausch N, Rujeni N, Appleby LJ, Mitchell KM, Midzi N, Mduluza T, Mutapi F: Integrated Analysis of Innate, Th1, Th2, Th17, and Regulatory Cytokines Identifies Changes in Immune Polarisation Following Treatment of Human Schistosomiasis. J Infect Dis 2012.

4. Mitchell KM, Mutapi F, Savill NJ, Woolhouse ME: Protective immunity to Schistosoma haematobium infection is primarily an anti-fecundity response stimulated by the death of adult worms. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2012, 109(33):13347-13352.

5. Nausch N, Bourke CD, Appleby LJ, Rujeni N, Lantz O, Trottein F, Midzi N, Mduluza T, Mutapi F: Proportions of CD4+ memory T cells are altered in individuals chronically infected with Schistosoma haematobium. Sci Rep 2012, 2:472.


Booking not required.