Sebastian Lourido (Whitehead Inst. & MIT) 2: Genetic approaches to study Toxoplasma gondii

Sebastian Lourido (Whitehead Inst. & MIT) 2: Genetic approaches to study Toxoplasma gondii

Recording date: 26/04/2018
Viewed: 1 time

Sebastian Lourido explains why Toxoplasma gondii is an excellent system to study Apicomplexa, the phylum that includes the parasites that cause toxoplasmosis, malaria, and cryptosporidiosis. https://www.ibiology.org/microbiology/toxoplasma-gondii/ Talk Overview: Apicomplexa are evolutionarily distinct eukaryotes that play an important role in human disease worldwide. So how do scientists study their unique biology? Dr. Sebastian Lourido explains that his lab uses Toxoplasma gondii as a model to study the phylum Apicomplexa. In part one of his talk, he explains the complex life cycle of T. gondii and he describes the unique organelles found in apicomplexa and used to facilitate invasion, survival and replication inside host cells. He highlights research from his lab demonstrating the importance of calcium signaling for T. gondii invasion. Since little is known about the Toxoplasma gondii genome, in his second iBiology seminar, Lourido explains how his lab developed CRISPR tools to study apicomplexan biology. His lab designed a strain of T. gondii constitutively expressing Cas9 that can be used in conjunction with guide libraries to identify biologically significant genes. Lourido explains how his lab used this system to identify genes encoding proteins necessary for apicomplexan invasion. These include a claudin-like protein, that they are calling CLAMP, that is conserved across apicomplexa and is necessary for invasion by both toxoplasma and the parasites that cause malaria.   Speaker Biography: Dr. Sebastian Lourido is a faculty member at the Whitehead Institute and an assistant professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His lab uses Toxoplasma gondii as a model to study the underlying mechanisms of how the apicomplexan phylum of parasites infect and spread diseases such as malaria and toxoplasmosis. As an undergraduate student at Tulane University, Lourido double majored in Cell & Molecular Biology and Studio Art.  Realizing that scientific research allowed him to stretch the same creative muscles as art, he ultimately decided to pursue a career in biology. Lourido received his PhD in microbiology from Washington University in St. Louis where he worked in Dr. David Sibley’s lab. In 2012, he was offered the opportunity to establish a lab and conduct independent research at the Whitehead Institute in lieu of a traditional postdoctoral fellowship. A year later, he won the NIH director’s early independence award in 2013. In early 2017, he became the 28th individual to be named a Whitehead Institute faculty member. Over the years, Lourido has maintained his interest in art and finds ways to intertwine his art background into his science. Learn more about the Lourido lab here: http://louridolab.wi.mit.edu

Sebastian Lourido (Whitehead Institute and Massachusetts Institute of Technology)


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