Blog | Early Career Research Fund 2022

By Tansy Vallintine
Woods Hole - Sept 2022

I was awarded the LSHTM Malaria Centre’s Early Career Researcher Fund to enable me to attend the Molecular Parasitology Meeting XXXIII in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA, from the 18th-22nd of September 2022. It was the first time I have attended this conference and I found it helpful to see such a broad range of work presented in the field of parasite molecular biology.

It was also the first time I have attended a conference presenting so much work with relevance to the molecular biology of malaria, so the material was highly engaging. A few highlights included the presentation describing how host neutrophils impose a strong selection pressure on parasite effector proteins linked to cerebral malaria, new insight into how a mature N terminus regulates specificity of P. falciparum effector protein export into the host red blood cell, and use of multi-omics to identify genes involved in sexual development in P. falciparum gametocytes. It was also interesting to see work presented on other genera including on identifying components of the Cryptosporidium oocyst wall and descriptions of extracellular vesicles in Naegleria fowleri.

On the 21st I was able to present my own work in a poster session. My poster was titled ‘Dense Granule Biogenesis Timing and Protein Composition in Plasmodium falciparum’ and describes my work identifying previously unknown dense granule proteins and describing dense granule biogenesis timing for the first time through IFA and live video fluorescent microscopy respectively. I received some very interesting and helpful feedback to my work.

I found the experience of meeting so many researchers from groups around the world to be both exciting and inspiring. The ability to be able to meet so many researchers and potential collaborators face to face was an experience that I would not have been able to have had I been presenting remotely.

I am very grateful to the Malaria Centre for giving me the opportunity to attend this conference.

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