Our group studies the basis of human genetic susceptibility to major human pathogens. We focus on two mosquito-borne infections, malaria and dengue, currently impose a heavy public health burden in tropical and sub-tropical areas. Whilst to date, the majority of human genetic studies have focused on genes implicated in severe/fatal disease, a mild or even asymptomatic outcome infection is common. We aim to identify genes governing infection outcome and transmissibility, within two important contexts:
- That of the pathogen exploitation of the host and maximization of onward transmission;
- The environmental context, placing emphasis upon the exogenous factors that impact upon the within-host dynamic of the pathogen and thus influence the outcome of infection.
An increased appreciation of the importance of gene-gene and gene-environment interactions is necessary to understand the full extent to which genetics underlie infection outcome.