Molecular Parasitology

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ERC consolidator grant awarded to Siegel lab


Following very generous funding through an ERC starting grant during the last several years, we are very excited to have been awarded an ERC-CoG. With the new funding we will investigate the mechanisms controlling the levels of cell-to-cell heterogeneity in pathogen populations. As a model, we will study the mechanisms that ensure the periodic antigen switching in African trypanosomes. Specifically, we aim to add temporal components to our single-cell analyses that will allow us to link molecular events over time. The research will build on single-cell expertise gained as part of our ITN Cell2Cell.

A quick summary:

  • Background:
    - Pathogens exploit cellular heterogeneity to establish infections.
    - Yet, too little or too much heterogeneity is detrimental for pathogens.
  • Question:
    - How is the level of heterogeneity modulated in pathogen populations?
  • Our strategy:
    Using antigen switching frequency as a model and taking advantage of single-cell omics approaches we will:
    - Trace molecular heterogeneity over time
    - Determine the role of genome architecture as a modulator of antigen expression variation