I am investigating how the daily developmental rhythms of malaria parasites are initiated and maintained inside their hosts.
Food availability, predator avoidance, mating success: coordinating behaviours to the correct time of day gives creatures an evolutionary advantage. There is rhythmicity inside organisms, for example changes in immunity, temperature, metabolism and oxidative stress. To a parasite inside a host these environmental pressures are likely to be important.
Malaria parasites living inside mammalian hosts burst out of their red blood cells all together (synchronous) at the same time of day (timed). I explore how parasites interact with the host environment, in particular how host feeding and metabolism influence the timing of daily parasite replication.
I also explore how parasites influence the circadian rhythms of their host, the diversity of parasite rhythms, and what this means for host-parasite interaction and ultimately co-evolution.
(click headings to expand details)
Reece S.E. and Prior K.F. (2018) Malaria Makes the Most of Mealtimes. Cell Host & Microbe, Volume 23 , Issue 6 , 695 - 697
Prior, K. F., van der Veen, D. R., O'Donnell, A. J., Cumnock, K., Schneider, D., Pain, A., Subudhi, A., Ramaprasad, A., Rund, S. S. C., Savill, N. J., & Reece, S. E. (2018) Timing of host feeding drives rhythms in parasite replication. PLOS Pathogens 14(2): e1006900. doi 10.1361/1006900
Reece, S. E., Prior, K. F., & Mideo, N. (2017). The Life and Times of Parasites: Rhythms in Strategies for Within-host Survival and Between-host Transmission Journal of Biological Rhythms, 0748730417718904.
2013-2017 University of Edinburgh, PhD. The evolutionary ecology of circadian rhythms in malaria parasites.
2012 – 2013
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, MSc Medical Parasitology
Project: Methods of detecting Plasmodium knowlesi in long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) in Peninsular Malaysia using molecular and serological techniques. Supervisor: Dr Chris Drakeley
Bangor University, BSc Zoology (1st)
Project: Virulence markers of the intracellular protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii and their use as prognostic indicators. Supervisor: Dr Henk Braig