Joanne Thompson

  • Institute of Immunology and Infection Research
  • Centre for Immunity, Infection and Evolution
  • School of Biological Sciences

Contact details



Rm. 3.09. Ashworth Laboratories.

Post code


1989    PhD. Institute of Neurology. University of London

1989-1992    Postdoc: ICRF Developmental Biology Unit, Oxford

1992-1996    Department of Biology, Imperial College, London

1996-1998    EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany

1999-2001    Leiden University Medical Centre, The Netherlands

2001-2010    MRC Research Fellow: University of Edinburgh

2010-Present    Senior Lecturer in Molecular Parasitology, University of Edinburgh

Undergraduate teaching

Microorganisms, Infection and Immunity 2

Parasite Biology 3

Medical Microbiology 3

Immunobiology of Malaria (Hons.)

Cell Biology of Parasites (Hons.)

Research summary

The malaria parasite has a surprisingly complex life cycle in its vertebrate host and mosquito vector and is capable of interacting with and invading a range of host tissues. In establishing a long-lasting infection in mammalian hosts, the parasite must also detect and respond to changes in its cellular environment and modulate the development of an effective host immune response. My primary research interest lies in exploring these host-parasite interactions at the molecular and cellular level; in particular carrying out functional analyses of parasite integral-membrane proteins that share features with G-Protein Coupled Receptors and Tumour Necrosis Factor Receptors and so are implicated in signal transduction and immunomodulation.

These studies have also recently led to the development of gene transformation technologies in Plasmodium chabaudi; the experimental malaria parasite model that most closely resembles human malaria infection. This has opened the way to directly visualize host immune cell-parasite interactions and to investigate immune responses to parasites in which candidate immunomodulatory genes have been deleted.