1 August 2012
Human hookworm infection is currently controlled through frequent use of antihelminthic drugs in school-age children, however high rates of re-infection occur soon after treatment and there is evidence of emerging drug resistance.
Vaccination is currently viewed as the only longterm solution for reducing the enormous burden this disease imposes on developing countries. Before we can start developing a vaccine against the parasite however, we first need to identify the immune mechanisms that can best protect against hookworm infection.
These research endeavours have been greatly strengthened by French immunoparasitologist Dr Tiffany Bouchery-Smith joining our research team. Dr Bouchery-Smith recently completed her doctoral research on the role of chemokines in the survival, development and reproduction of Litomosoides sigmodontis (a filarial parasite) in the Comparative Parasitology Group of the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle (National Museum of Natural History) in Paris.
With the support of a Malaghan Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship, Dr Bouchery-Smith is investigating the early stages of infection of Nippostrongylus brasiliensis, a rodent model of human hookworm infection, to understand the natural entrance of the parasite, its migration pathway from the skin to the lungs, and how this pathway can be affected by a protective immune response.