6 August 2015
Many talented scientists come to work for a few years at the Malaghan Institute, and all are missed after they leave but we are doubly sorry to see Drs Tiffany Bouchery-Smith and Alexander Smith, a couple of post-doctoral research fellows from France, who have left after three years. Tiffany will be joining the prestigious Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne where she will continue investigating how the immune system can cope with hookworm infection in the lungs, and Alexander will start working as a bioinformatics research fellow at the Universite de Lausanne, where he will try and decode how DNA previously thought to be "junk" DNA actually supports a whole new layer of gene regulation.
Professor Graham Le Gros praises Tiffanys perseverance and determination to rid the world of hookworm that, in April, led to the publication of their research in Nature Communications. Jointly, they hope to publish subsequent research which will bring the international community closer to breaking the lifecycle of the parasite. Hookworm causes misery to one billion of the worlds poorest people and employing the immune system to fight it is the best prospect when whole populations are becoming resistant to oral drug therapies, and reinfection remains continual.
Professor Franca Ronchese acknowledges Alexs contribution to the Malaghan Institute, Alexs understanding and capability in the field of bioinformatics and statistics has enabled us to make a solid start in our transcriptomics work. As we delve further and further into the workings of the immune system using increasingly high-throughput technologies, ever large amounts of data are generated, and using computers and statistical methodology to sift through it all becomes a necessity. Alex will be sorely missed.