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Dr Michael Gaunt

D Phil (Oxon)

Assistant Professor
in Genome Parasitology

Room
ITD Department

LSHTM
Keppel Street
London
WC1E 7HT
United Kingdom

Tel.
+44 (0)207 9588386

Fax.
+44 (0)207 6368739

I have previously held a Wellcome Trust junior research fellowship and  RCUK fellow in molecular parasitology and lecturer.

The work is focused on using evolutionary models to understand the molecular epidemiology or "microevolution" and "macroevolution" of the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi the causative agent of South American trypanosomiasis and its insect vector triatomine bugs.

Microevolution: T. cruzi is a zoonose and the genetic relationship, or "population structure", between sylvatic mammals and human reservoir hosts could have important public health implications.  We have developed a population genomics method using "microsatellite" genetic markers that provides the most accurate typing tool available for T. cruzi. The application of this tool to field isolates demonstrates T. cruzi has a complex epidemiology. For example, some ecotopes show a close genetic association between sylvatic hosts (rodents) and humans but other ecotopes (opossums) show a mixture of close and distant genetic associations. The microsatellites panel identified multiclonal infections as being much more important than previously thought.

Macroevolution: Our evolutionary studies on triatomine bugs revealed the insect evolved blood-feeding behaviour once and this occurred exactly at the same time as the formation of South America. Finally, theoretical work on evolutionary models reveals that several commonly used assumptions (mutation matrices) may result in erroneous epidemiological inferences. Refining these models provides new epidemiological insights.

Webpages: cluster computing

Affiliations

Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases
Department of Pathogen Molecular Biology

Teaching

Module Organiser: Molecular Virology Teaching: Phylogenetics 

Research

Examples of research achievements include: 

  • Llewellyn MS, Rivett-Carnac JB, Fitzpatrick S, Lewis MD, Yeo M, Gaunt MW, Miles MA (2011) Extraordinary Trypanosoma cruzi diversity within single mammalian reservoir hosts implies a mechanism of diversifying selection. Int J Parasitol. 2011 May;41(6):609-14





                   

Research Area
Climate change
Insects
Parasites
Statistical methods
Trypanosomes
Bayesian Analysis
Environmental Health
Protozoa
Modelling
Discipline
Genetic epidemiology
Genomics
Molecular epidemiology
Genetics
Molecular biology
Parasitology
Disease and Health Conditions
Infectious disease
Leishmaniasis
African trypanosomiasis
Chagas Disease
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
Country
Argentina
Brazil
Mexico
Region
Latin America & Caribbean (developing only)
Latin America & Caribbean (all income levels)