Imaging toxoplasmosis in the eye using genetically modified parasites and host mice

Project: Research

Project Description

Toxoplasmosis is a significant public health issue globally. Infection can occur directly through eating poorly cooked infected meat or congenitally due to exposure of pregnant mothers to cat faeces containing eggs of the parasite. The number of people infected with this protozoan parasite varies from country to country, but approximately one third of the world’s population has been exposed to this organism in their lifetime. Besides infecting the brain and heart the organism can also infect the eye and lead to blindness especially in immunocompromised patients whose immune system fails to keep the infection in check. By using parasites and T cells genetically modified to express fluorescent reporters, we will use a mouse model of ocular toxoplasmosis to unravel how these organisms enter the eye and how the immune system interacts with them. These fluorescent tools and our recognised expertise in imaging of the eye will enable us to characterise the T lymphocyte-parasite interactions in live retinas. This will provide unique insights into the pathogenesis of ocular toxoplasmosis, a leading cause of uveitis. An understanding of the disease mechanisms will lead to improved drug design, drug delivery and thus patient management in the future.

Short titleOcular Toxoplasmosis
StatusActive
Effective start/end date3/04/17 → …