Eva Frickel group

A new perspective on anti-Toxoplasma gondii immunity

The protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii infects a broad range of hosts, with a seroprevalence in man of about 30%. It is unclear how Toxoplasma maintains the intricate balance between survival and host defense.

IFNγ, the main cytokine responsible for its control, activates cells to restrict intracellular parasite replication or to kill intracellular Toxoplasma. Cell-mediated immunity, driven mostly by CD8 T cells, confers resistance to the chronic phase of the parasite. The outcome of an infection with Toxoplasma is determined not only by the host's immune status, but also by the genotype of the infecting strain.

The major cause of Toxoplasma pathogenesis results from parasite burden, concurrent with an over-stimulation of the immune system in the form of high levels of T helper cell type 1 cytokines, increased apoptosis and organ damage.

Our long-term goal is to identify novel pathways and mechanisms of host resistance to Toxoplasma. We are studying how the parasitophorous vacuole (PV) is remodeled within host cells to limit parasite replication and/or induce immune defence mechanisms. We are interested in defining what shapes the functionality of CD8 T cells that control chronic Toxoplasma infection.

Our research themes

Click links to view others working on these themes

Open positions

Postdocs

Please email eva.frickel@nimr.mrc.ac.uk to discuss the possibility to join our group. We are looking for enthusiastic and collaborative individuals who are interested in molecular aspects of host-pathogen interactions and immune control of parasites. A (nearly) completed PhD degree in a relevant discipline is a prerequisite, as is a first author publication in an international peer-reviewed journal. We will move to the Francis Crick Institute located in central London near King’s Cross in 2015/2016.   

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