SysGen Seminar – Neil Young – 28th July, 2017

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Andrew Siebel

T: +61 3 8344 0707

Neil Young

Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, UoM

Friday 28th July
FW Jones Theatre, Level 3 Medical Building, The University of Melbourne

Genomic tools to support schistosomiasis research

Parasitic flatworms have a long-term impact (directly and indirectly) on human health and cause substantial suffering, particularly among the world’s poorest people. One of the most neglected tropical diseases is schistosomiasis, caused by blood flukes (Schistosoma spp.). These blood-dwelling parasites feed on host blood, leading to debilitating anaemia and malnutrition in affected patients. More insidiously, urinary schistosomiasis can lead to the development of bladder cancer, renal failure and increased risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS, all of which have been linked to the migration of thousands of parasite eggs through the host bladder wall. Worryingly, no vaccine exists for these important parasites, and treatment relies on the use of a single drug, praziquantel. Despite the high prevalence of schistosomiasis, molecular studies rely on draft genomes for most Schistosoma species and transcriptomic data are very scant. This is partly the result of the current difficulties in obtaining large quantities of parasite materials for genome sequencing. In my research, I employ genomic DNA amplification and massively parallel sequencing technologies to assemble refined reference genomes for flatworm parasites, and use these as a platform to annotate parasite proteins and explore developmental regulation of genes among different life history stages and genetic variation among parasite populations. Characterisation of genomes, gene regulation and genetic variation among different parasite populations will elucidate, for the first time, the molecular biology of these unique parasites and will contribute to the development of new approaches for treatment and control.

See Neil's Associate Member profile.

Enquiries: Andrew Siebel (