Dr Antoine Claessens


Research Fellow


Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases
Department of Pathogen Molecular Biology


Malaria Centre


I am a Research Fellow on a joint LSHTM/MRC-Gambia fellowship from the MRC. After my PhD at Edinburgh University with Pr Alex Rowe and a post-doc with Pr Dominic Kwiatkowski at the Sanger Institute, I joined LSHTM in 2014. I'm mainly based at the MRC-Gambia in Fajara, The Gambia, West Africa.

My current research focuses on genomics of Plasmodium falciparum asymptomatic infection.
The Plasmodium falciparum population in The Gambia fluctuates between a high prevalence in the wet season (transmission season) to a low prevalence in the dry season (no transmission). This drastic environmental change likely selects parasites that are genetically better suited for one environment or the other. We regularly collect blood samples from asymptomatic volunteers, sequence P. falciparum genomes and compare allele frequency variations between pre and post-transmission seasons. I am testing the hypothesis that some parasite allele frequencies will be associated with survival over the dry season.

Scientific interest keywords: Malaria, genomics, transcriptomics, antigenic variation, var genes, mutation rate, G-quadruplex.

Research Area
Genetic epidemiology
Molecular biology
Disease and Health Conditions
Gambia, The

Selected Publications

Generation of antigenic diversity in Plasmodium falciparum by structured rearrangement of Var genes during mitosis.
Claessens, A. ; Hamilton, W.L. ; Kekre, M. ; Otto, T.D. ; Faizullabhoy, A. ; Rayner, J.C. ; Kwiatkowski, D. ;
PLoS Genet
Putative DNA G-quadruplex formation within the promoters of Plasmodium falciparum var genes.
Smargiasso, N. ; Gabelica, V. ; Damblon, C. ; Rosu, F. ; De Pauw, E. ; Teulade-Fichou, M.P. ; Rowe, J.A. ; Claessens, A. ;
BMC Genomics
See all Dr Antoine Claessens's Publications