Eva Gluenz

Royal Society University Research Fellow and Group Leader
Research Lecturer
Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford
Fellow by special election
St. Edmund Hall, University of Oxford

Eva Gluenz earned a MSc in Biology from the University of Bern, Switzerland, in 2000. She obtained her PhD at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2005. From 2004-2011 she was a post-doctoral research associate at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford and in 2011 started her own research group as a Royal Society University Research Fellow and Research Lecturer at the Dunn School.

The Gluenz lab studies the single-celled parasites Leishmania, which cause disease in humans and animals in over 88 countries around the world. Leishmaniasis is a neglected disease, associated with poverty and conflict. There is currently no vaccine and an urgent need for better drug treatments.

Leishmania are transmitted by blood feeding sand flies and in the mammalian host they enter macrophages of the host and replicate intracellularly. Eva Gluenz and her colleagues study the molecular cell biology of this parasite to understand how it can cycle between insect vector and mammalian host and how the parasites modulate host-cell functions to survive in macrophages. The research focuses on three main areas:

  1. Structure and function of the Leishmania flagellum. Cilia and flagella are cellular projections built around a microtubule axoneme whose molecular architecture is highly conserved across eukaryotes. When the Leishmania parasite is engulfed by a macrophage, it changes shape and the flagellum turns from a device built for into a structure resembling a sensory cilium. The scientists aim to dissect the mechanisms that govern this change in flagellar structure and test our hypothesis that the amastigote flagellum serves as a sensory organelle in host-parasite interactions.
  2. Identification of genes and pathways important for survival in a macrophage. The Gluenz lab used RNA-sequencing to map gene expression patterns in the insect- and mammalian-infective forms of Leishmania mexicana. Comparative analyses allowed us to define differences in gene expression patterns between the different parasite forms and we now seek to investigate their functions.
  3. Development of genetic tools. Eva Gluenz and her lab have developed a CRISPR-Cas9 high throughput genome editing toolkit for Leishmania and related protists and is using these tools to harness the information from genome, transcriptome and proteome data and dissect the cell biology of Leishmania.

For more information, please visit: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~path0389/

Back to Meet the Experts overview page