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Dr Teresa Carvalho Lecturer, Physiology Anatomy & Microbiology

Parasitic infections heavily affect global health. For example, it is estimated that half of the world population is at risk of contracting malaria, and a quarter of humanity currently suffers from soil-borne helminthic infections. Further, parasites also considerably infect livestock, with a tremendous impact on animal health and meat quality and yield.
Parasites can be transmitted by an insect vector, or simply present in water, soil or food, so infection rates can be very high. However, there are very few anti-parasitic vaccines and treatment options can be limited and inefficient.
Our laboratory studies human parasites (in particular Plasmodium falciparum, the most virulent of human malaria parasites), and veterinary parasites (such as Theileria, which affects cattle). We aim to understand the biological and genetic mechanisms crucial for the survival of the parasite inside its host, and to identify specific host-parasite interaction mechanisms needed for parasite survival. Ultimately, we use this knowledge to identify new molecules that prevent parasite development and design novel anti-parasitic drug treatments.

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