Dr Martin Taylor
of Molecular Biology
Martin did his PhD in the laboratory of Prof.Michael Miles at the LSHTM on the trypanothione reductase of Leishmania donovani. He then spent three years as a post-doc in Prof. Piet Borst's lab at the Netherlands Cancer Institute where he worked on antigenic variation and technology development in African trypanosomes. He returned to the School in 1995 to join Dr John Kelly's group working on the American trypanosome, Trypanosoma cruzi.
Martin is a member of the course committee and deputy chair of the exam board for the MSc. in Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases. Martin is the organiser for Module 3131 Molecular Biology and Recombinant DNA Techniques
Martin lectures on general control of gene expression, RNA interference/CRISPR (biology and technology), Cell biology of invasion and immune evasion by T. cruzi and Leishmania, Trypanosomatid molecular biology and the immunology of African and American Trypanosomiases.
Martin's main interest is in the interaction of trypanosomes with the mammalian host, including the acquisition of essential micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. He is currently investigating iron transport and metabolism in T. brucei and T. cruzi. He is developing methods to look at the way in which these parasites respond when the host immune system triggers its iron sequestration response. Iron is essential to these pathogens and its acquisition is likely to be a target for chemotherapy.
He is also investigating the local immunological response to infected cells in the chronic stage of T. cruzi infection in the mouse model using dual reporter parasite lines.
He is involved in the creation of models for drug development in Stage II African trypanosomiasis, Chagas disease and visceral Leishmaniasis. This has involved the engineering of parasite lines expressing very high levels of firefly luciferase. Use of red-shifted luciferase has led to a highly sensitive infection model which is being used to streamline in vivo drug development for these neglected tropical diseases. He has developed a combined bioluminescence/fluorescence model for investigating the pathogenesis and immunology of Chagas disease which allows the investigation of host-parasite interactions within the chronic stage. He is currently extending this system to Leishmaniasis.
Martin has also developed a tetracycline based inducible expression system for T. cruzi which is now being used in several laboratories worldwide. He is currently developing RNA based knockdown systems for Trypanosoma cruzi which lacks conventional RNA interference machinery and an improved inducible expression system for this organism.