We Love Tryps!
Trypanosomes are single-celled eukaryotic pathogens that cause debilitating and lethal diseases in humans and animals, including African sleeping sickness, Nagana, Chagas’ disease, and leishmaniasis. Like all parasites, trypanosomes must acquire nutrients from their host while evading the host’s immune system in order to survive and successfully transmit to the next host. Our lab focuses on fatty acids, the simplest lipid nutrient. Fatty acids are key components of cell membranes, regulate protein localization, act as signaling molecules, and serve as a source of energy. Our goal is to define the molecular and cellular mechanisms that mediate fatty acid metabolic processes and the role these processes play in how these organisms adapt to their host environments. The ultimate goal is to exploit this information to identify and validate new drug targets for treating the terrible diseases caused by trypanosomes.