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Research Fellows Directory

Richard Grencis

Professor Richard Grencis

Research Fellow


University of Manchester

Research summary

My research is aimed at understanding how our defence system, the immune system, controls infection. Specifically I am interested in parasitic infection, especially roundworms that inhabit our intestines. These parasites currently infect one thirds of the world's population and are responsible for considerable ill health, especially in the Tropics. Also, these parasites are major problems for our domestic stock all over the world causing both ill health and associated economic losses. There are few effective vaccines available - none for use in humans and resistance to many of the available anti-parasitic drugs has already developed. Thus, there is a great need to understand the biology of these parasites and how they interact with their hosts. Our research has a focus on one of the major roundworm parasites called Trichuris or whipworm, which infects both man and animals including the mouse, which makes it ideal to study in the laboratory. Our work has identified the cells and molecules that work together to remove these parasites from the intestine. Currently our major focus is why our immune system is not as effective as it should be and so many people and animals are unable to expel their parasites. Our studies have shown that these organisms are able to manipulate the immune system to their own advantage to perpetuate their own survival. We have identified the key molecules these parasites use to do this. Not only would they be good targets for new drugs or vaccine candidates to help control parasite infection, but also identify new ways in which we may wish to exploit these parasites to control inflammatory diseases such as allergies, arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Grants awarded

Understanding Parasitism: Survival and Immunoregulation of Parasitic Nematodes

Scheme: Wolfson Research Merit Awards

Dates: May 2014 - Apr 2019

Value: £25,000