Genes mutations identified that allow mitochondrial DNA loss in trypanosomes

In a paper published recently in PNAS, the Schnaufer lab has uncovered the mechanism that allows the disease-causing bloodstream form of the parasite Trypanosoma brucei to survive complete loss of its mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).

MtDNA loss is the distinguishing feature of a group of trypanosome parasites (so-called dyskinetoplastic trypanosomes), that are transmitted independently of the tsetse fly and are of significant veterinary importance globally.

CIIE Fellowships applications now welcome

CIIE is looking to attract dynamic and enthusiastic researchers, eager to operate at the interface between disciplines (e.g. infection biology, immunology, evolutionary biology, ecology, epidemiology and mathematical modelling) to create new research paradigms to tackle infectious diseases.

To promote this, we are offering two interdisciplinary research fellowships of two years' duration, with the intention of providing a springboard for independent fellowship applications. Fellowships can be linked to, or combine, existing scientific areas within the Centre, though applicants with their own research projects within the remit of the Centre are also welcome.

Treating infection may have sting in the tail, parasite study shows

Using drugs to treat an infection could allow other co-existing conditions to flourish, a study in wild animals has shown.

Researchers studying wild mice – which typically carry multiple parasitic infections at once – found that when these animals were treated for one type of bug, other infections they had tended to worsen.

BioPOD May podcast

May episode of BioPOD is out. BioPOD is the official podcast of the School of Biological Sciences, produced and presented by enthusiastic student volunteers.

In this episode, BioPOD visited the Edinburgh International Science Festival, found out about inbreeding in beetles and a fly that's threatening fruit crops, spoke to an Honorary Professor about his 30 year long career in science as well as taking one last trip to Millport's research station.



Paul Sharp elected Fellow of the Royal Society, London

CIIE member Prof Professor Paul Sharp, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (London).

Professor Paul M Sharp FRS is a Professor of Genetics and Alan Robertson Chair of Genetics at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh.

Professor Jeremy Farrar named new Director of the Wellcome Trust

The Board of Governors of the Wellcome Trust is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Jeremy Farrar as the Trust’s new Director.

Professor Farrar is an outstanding clinical scientist who has built a reputation as one of the world's leading figures in the field of infectious disease. He is currently Professor of Tropical Medicine and Global Health at Oxford University, Global Scholar at Princeton University and Director of the Wellcome Trust's Major Overseas Programme in Vietnam.

Immune finding aids quest for vaccines to beat tropical infections

Scientists are a step closer to developing vaccines for a range of diseases that affect 200 million people, mainly in tropical south-east Asia, Africa and Central America.

Researchers studying infections caused by parasitic worms – which lead to diseases such as elephantiasis and river blindness – have shown how these can shut down a part of the immune system that might otherwise fight sickness. Preventing this immune reaction enables the infection to persist, causing chronic illness.

Eating well could spread infections faster, water-flea study shows

It may be an old wives' tale to say that starving a fever is an effective remedy – but now scientists have shown that plentiful food can accelerate the spread of infections.

Scientists studying bacterial infections in tiny water-fleas have discovered that increasing their supply of food can speed up the spread of infection. They carried out the study to better understand factors that affect how diseases are transmitted.


BioPOD February podcast

February episode of BioPOD is out. BioPOD is the official podcast of the School of Biological Sciences, produced and presented by enthusiastic student volunteers.

In this episode, BioPOD finds out about an infertility gene in fruit flies, learns how algae will be affected by climate change, investigates how we can save our urban pollinators, and hears about the work done by the famous Edinburgh scientists that our new library is named after.


Protein discovery could hold key to understanding immunity

Fresh insight into the immune system could lead to better understanding of diseases that occur when the system fails.


Scientists have discovered that a key protein linked to autoimmune reactions – which occur when the immune system attacks the body – also helps control the responses to disease.

CIIE Symposium on Phylogeography of human pathogens

We are pleased to announce that the CIIE Symposium on Phylogeography of human pathogens will be held on Wednesday, 17th April 2013 in Lecture Theatre 1, Ashworth Laboratories, University of Edinburgh.

International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases: Coinfection, one-day conference

International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases holds a one-day conference focusing on coinfection within NTDs and global health.

The conference will be held on 12th February at The Wellcome Trust. The aim is to assess the impact of the Big 3: HIV, Malaria and Tuberculosis on the future diagnosis, research and treatment of NTDs.

BioPOD December podcast

CIIE members are featured yet again on BioPOD December podcast. BioPOD is the official podcast of the School of Biological Sciences, produced and presented by enthusiastic student volunteers.

In this episode, BioPOD talks to Dr. Andrew MacDonald about the immune system and some media mishaps.

Malaria study suggests drugs should target female parasites

Research into malaria parasites – which exist in male and female forms, and mate to spread the disease – suggests that treatments would be more likely to succeed if designed to target female forms of the parasite.

Scientists found that male parasites can adapt to new surroundings faster than the females. When malaria infects the bloodstream after a mosquito bite, the male parasites are better able to react quickly to repeated attacks by the immune system and so are likely to be harder to treat with drugs and vaccines.

Call for CIIE projects for MSc in One Health students

We are calling for CIIE projects for students on the MSc in One Health course !
The University programme in "One Health" is offering Masters projects to their students, with research funding available of (up to) £2000/project (projects run from April-August).

MSc in One Health programme builds on the close links between human and animal medicine within the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine to provide a stimulating experience in a research/academic environment.