Who we are

NISHA PHILIP

Nisha grew up moving throughout India during her childhood. She then decided to travel even further to the US and received her PhD (Pharmacology) at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Her doctoral work in Tim Haystead’s group examined the interaction of phosphorylation and ubiquitin pathways in Plasmodium falciparum. She did a NIH-postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute of Genomic Sciences and Policy with Ashley Chi, where her research explored the role of miRNAs in the host-pathogen interaction between the malarial parasite and red blood cells in sickle cell disease.

Leaving the eternal North Carolina sunshine behind, Nisha moved to Glasgow in Scotland as an EMBO fellow in Andy Waters’ group to study signal transduction pathways required for malaria parasite infection and transmission. In autumn 2017, she started her research group at the Institute of Immunology and Infection research in University of Edinburgh. Nisha is interested in what molecular mechanisms drive interaction of the malaria parasite with its mammalian host and the mosquito vector. The Philip group uses conditional genome engineering technologies and proteomic tools to understand how the parasite exploits dynamic signalling pathways to infect its host and the vector.

Outside science, Nisha enjoys walking in the hills/mountains and keeping fish.

 

 

DOMINIKA KWECKA

Dominika graduated in Biological Sciences (Molecular Genetics) from The University of Edinburgh in 2019. Her interest in malaria took off when she worked with Joanne Thompson to generate fluorescent strains of Plasmodium chabaudi. She completed her Honours Project and summer internship in the Philip group, investigating the role of cyclic AMP dependent protein kinase during malaria parasite transmission. Her stint in the lab did not scare her off and Domi started her PhD with the group in Oct 2019 on an EASTBIO studentship. She aims to elucidate cAMP regulated signalling networks regulating malaria parasite biology at the host-vector interface using the rodent malaria model, Plasmodium berghei.

In her free time, Domi enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking or climbing and she is part of the Karate club at the university. 

 

 

NEELAKSHI VARMA

Neelakshi graduated from the University of Delhi in Biochemistry and did her MS from the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) in Bengaluru, India. Her journey into parasitology started with her MS project, where she studied purine metabolism in Plasmodium. The complexity of the parasite’s life-cycle fascinates her, and after working with the asexual stages of the parasite at JNCASR, she is all set to explore the dynamicity of the sexual stages for her PhD. Supported by the Darwin Trust, Neelakshi is trying to understand the role of deubiquitinating enzymes in the parasite, with a special focus on disease transmission and the sexual stages.

Outside lab Neelakshi loves travelling, reading books, swimming and climbing.

 

NILA JOHNSON

Nila studied her undergraduate degree in BSc Biological Sciences (Molecular Medicine) at the University of Leeds. As part of her degree program, Nila undertook a year in industry at Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD) in California, and has been in love with the study of infectious diseases ever since. Nila graduated from Leeds in July 2019, and started her PhD on the Hosts, Pathogens, and Global Health program in October 2019. As part of the first year of the program, Nila was on a rotation project in the Philip lab examining ubiquitin signalling during malaria parasite transmission. She has decided to return to the group for her PhD to build on the exciting data from her rotation project.
 
Outside of the lab, Nila enjoys cooking, hiking, and adventuring to new places.
 

NEELIMA KRISHNANKUTTY

Neelima completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), India. It was during my master's thesis she was introduced to the world of malaria, working on the role and binding motifs of AP2 transcription factors in Plasmodium. The intricate molecular workings of the malaria parasite captivated her interest. Now, with the support of the Darwin Trust, her PhD explores the role of deubiquitinating enzymes in Plasmodium gametocytogenesis.
 
Apart from the lab, I enjoy painting, trying new recipes and reading.
 
 
 
SARA ANGHEL:  Sara is an Immunology hons student who is studying how chromatin compaction could regulate gene regulation in Plasmodium gametocytes.
LUC HUNG: Luc is a Biochemistry hons student who is dissecting the role of non-canonical cyclic nucleotide binding domains in Plasmodium protein function.
 
ALUMNI

EDWARD MARR

Edward graduated from the University of Edinburgh (BSc Hons Zoology) with a love of parasitology. This naturally led to a molecular parasitology themed PhD, undertaken between the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the Moredun Research Institute. After four exciting years developing RNA interference in ectoparasitic mites, Ed transitioned to the world of the Apicomplexa where he spent 2 years as a post-doc with Joanne Thompson developing transfection methodologies in Plasmodium chabaudi. He is now a post-doc in the Philip lab where he aims to elucidate the roles of Plasmodium protein phosphatases and kinases through chemical genetic technologies using the model rodent malaria species, P. berghei.

When not in the lab Edward enjoys spending time outdoors with his family, playing the trumpet and climbing whenever and whatever he can! Ed is now planning to inspire high school students to pursue an interest in the natural world.

 

ENOCK MARARO

Enock Mararo graduated with a BSc in Biochemistry (Molecular Biology Option) from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya in 2015. He subsequently interned at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) as a research graduate student. During this period, he delved into tropical diseases (Leishmaniasis, Schistosomiasis and Malaria) found in Sub-Saharan Africa. Later, he obtained a Wellcome Trust Master’s fellowship to undertake a Masters in Infection Biology at the University of Glasgow in 2016. His master’s course work expanded his expertise in host-pathogen interactions and the use of symbiotic bacteria (Wolbachia) in blocking viruses. Currently, he is pursuing his PhD at  the University of Edinburgh under the four-year Wellcome Trust Host Pathogen and Global Health ProgrammeHe completed his final lab rotation in the Philip lab where he extensively review the malaria parasite ubiquitome.  

Enock enjoys squashbouldering, football, free-style paintings and likes reading novels.

CORALIE ABSOLUM
Coralie is an undergraduate reading Infectious Diseases at the Edinburgh University College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. Her interest in infectious diseases began after writing her high school EPQ on the impact of water and sanitation on diarrheal diseases. Specific interests in malaria arose from studies of parasite biology during her degree. She joined the lab for a summer project in 2019 looking at the effect of ubiquitin signaling during transmission of the malaria parasite.

Outside the lab and lecture hall, Coralie is captain of the university athletics club and greatly enjoys training and competing with the team.

 

 

TANYA LEE

Tanya is an undergraduate in Biological Sciences (Molecular Genetics) at the University of Edinburgh. Her interest in parasitology and in particular the parasitology of malaria started when learning about it in high school. Her interest was further developed when she studied Parasite Biology in her third year at university, which then led her to join the lab for her fourth year honours project.

 

EDVARDAS EIGMINAS- Ed joined us in Summer 2022 to characterise cyclic nucleotide signalling in Plasmodium parasites for a summer internship.

LIJIA LIU- Lijia was with us in Spring/Summer 2022 for her MSc project characterising atypical cyclic nucleotide binding domains required for parasite transmission

BENJAMIN BETTIS- Ben was in lab in Spring 2022 for his honours project where he investigated the role of a novel cyclic nucleotide binding protein in malaria transmission.

DEEPTI RAPTE - Deepti was in lab in Spring 2021 exploring protein deubiquitinases in Plasmodium parasites for her honours project.

YUXUAN WU - Yuxuan was in lab in Autumn 2018 learning molecular biology skills in Plasmodium parasites.