Achim Schnaufer


1991 - 1992          Diploma student, University of Giessen

1993 - 1997          PhD studentship (Research Assistant), University of Bern

1998 - 2002          Senior Research Fellow, Seattle Biomedical Research Institute (SBRI)

2002 - 2003          Research Associate, SBRI and University of Washington

2003 - 2006          Associate Scientist, SBRI

2007 - 2008          Senior Scientist, SBRI

2008 - 2013          MRC Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh

2014 - 2018          MRC Senior Research Fellow, Reader in Parasite and Mitochondrial Biology, University of Edinburgh

2018 - present    MRC Senior Research Fellow, Professor in Parasite and Mitochondrial Biology, University of Edinburgh

Research summary

Our lab aims to understand mitochondrial biogenesis, metabolism and RNA processing in trypanosomatid protozoa, which are important parasites of man and livestock, and to utilize that knowledge to inform drug development.

In particular, our studies are concentrated on the following two areas:

Mitochondrial function in bloodstream stage trypanosomes

This project is aimed at shedding light on the essential - and currently quite elusive - role that the mitochondrion plays in the disease-causing (bloodstream) stage of trypanosomes. It also aims to identify the adaptations that allow so-called dyskinetoplastic trypanosomes to survive the loss of their mitochondrial genome.

Evaluation of the trypanosome RNA editing complex as a drug target

RNA editing is an unusual form of post-transcriptional processing of mitochondrial mRNAs in these organisms. It is catalyzed by a macromolecular complex and of vital importance for the parasite. The goal of this project is to assess the potential of its essential components as drug targets. Of particular interest is RNA editing ligase 1 (REL1), the three-dimensional structure of which we recently determined.

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