This weekend, members from our lab attended the 61st American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists conference at the Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio, Tx. This annual meeting is one of the most important national gatherings of researchers, students, and clinicians for the distribution of new information and perspectives on the biology and control of parasites of veterinary importance. During the conference, we had the opportunity to discuss parasitology research all over the U.S. (and even in South America) in addition to presenting our lab’s current research. Our post docs, Dr. Fennguang Guo and Dr. Haili Zhang presented their publications on “Giardia fatty acyl-CoA as a potential drug target” (Frontiers in Microbiology, 2015) and “Cryptosporidium Lactate Dehydrogenase is Associated with the Parasitophorous Vacuole Membrane and is a Potential Target for Developing Therpeutics” (PLOS Pathogens, 2015), respectively. Rana El-Tahan, our 3rd year PhD student presented her dissertation project on “Selecting Drug Targets Based… Read more
Members of our lab attended the 49th annual meeting of the Southwestern Association of Parasitologists (SWAP) held on April 14 – 16 at the University of Oklahoma Biological Station (UOBS) located on Lake Texoma at Kingston, Oklahoma. The meeting consisted of two sections, oral presentations and poster session. On the morning of April 15th, Dr. Zhu gave an oral presentation about our lab’s project on gene discovery of Quial cecal worm by a small-scale genome sequence survey (GSS) and molecular detection. Rachel Hoyle, our current program aid, presented her project on microsporidia detection in threatened salamanders. In the afternoon, Mary Xue Yu presented her project on single cell cloning in selecting Cryptosporidium resistant cell lines. Rana Eltahan presented her project on selecting drug target based on Cyptosporidium glycolysis. After the oral presentations were completed, our group attended the poster section. There were many interesting parasite research projects being presented in this… Read more
We are looking for a postdoctoral associate or technician to explore the energy and fatty acid metabolic enzymes as drug targets in the protozoan parasites Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Candidates experienced with molecular and biochemical parasitology, as well as in vitro and in vivo experiments are encouraged to apply. Background in parasitology is preferred, but not essential. Salary will be commensurate with experience. Please email your application (including cover letter and curriculum vitae with contact information of three references) or inquiries to Dr. Guan Zhu at firstname.lastname@example.org. Texas A&M University is an Equal Opportunity Employer/ Educator.
Our recent paper on Cryptosporidium lactate dehydrogenase (CpLDH) is accompanied by a press release from the PLOS Pathogens editorial office. The article is live online now: http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1005250. It’s on today’s feature research at the journal’s homepage (November 12, 2015): http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/ Selected medium coverages by: Medical Express: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-11-exploring-vulnerabilities-cryptosporidium-parasite.html Today Topics: http://www.todaytopics.com/exploring-vulnerabilities-of-the-cryptosporidium-parasite/44159/ Medical News Today: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/302489.php Barfblogs: http://barfblog.com/2015/11/hope-for-future-drugs-exploring-vulnerabilities-of-cryptosporidium/
On 10/27/15, Dr. Greg Cuny from the University of Houston visited the Texas A&M University to give a presentation regarding his research on “IMPDH Inhibitors for Cryptosporidiosis.” Similar to ongoing projects in our lab, Dr. Cuny’s research is directed towards developing therapeutics against the cryptosporidium parvum parasite. For this particular project, Dr. Cuny’s is investigating the potential of the IMPDH enzyme as drug target by designing analogs to inhibit its activity. Inosine-5’-monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH) catalyzes the rate limiting step towards de novo biosynthesis of guanine nucleotides from inosine monophosphate (IMP) to xanthosine monophosphate (XMP) in the parasite. After Dr. Cuny’s seminar, we had the opportunity to visit the George Bush Library Museum to learn about the life and presidency of our 41st president.
Last week, Dr. Zhu, Mary Yu, and Rachel Hoyle visited the San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center (SMARC) where they toured the facility and collected more samples for a small project concerning the detection and identification of an undocumented microsporidia affecting federally listed Eurycea salamanders: Eurycea sosurm, Eurycea nana, Eurycea rathbuni. The Center manages captive breeding programs for these salamanders among other listed aquatic species endemic to the Edwards Aquifer and other Texas spring systems with an emphasis on threated, endangered, or interjurisdictional animals. The Edwards Aquifer is a natural Texas landscape of underground caves and porous limestone where rainwater collects and flows through, opening into some of the most prolific springs and unique ecosystems in the world. The Edwards Aquifer discharges about 900,000 acre-feet of water, directly serving about two million Texans from Brackettville to Austin.
We had our very first monthly lab meeting where current lab members presented their work on ongoing primary and secondary project on September 25th. In addition, Dr. Zhu introduced our new lab members Zi Jin. Zi Jin comes from China and is pursing her master degree here.
The research in our lab focuses on the molecular biology and biochemistry of parasitic protists, including Cryptosporidium and coccidia (Eimeria spp.). Major research interests include the parasite metabolism, drug targets and drug development, evolution of apicomplexans, host-pathogen interactions, and functional genomics. Other research areas include the parasites in wild quail and exotic birds. Cryptosporidium research has been challenged by a number of technical difficulties. Our laboratory is one of very few laboratories in the world mainly focusing on the study of biology of this genus of parasites. A number of novel biological features that revolutionize our understanding ofCryptosporidium were discovered in our research, such as the lack of plastid, the unique Type I fatty acid and polyketide synthases, and the metabolic and evolutionary divergence of Cryptosporidium from other apicomplexans.