What we do
Evolutionary theory successfuly explains how, when, and why organisms should vary their life history strategies in order to maximise transmission of their genes to the next generation (fitness). Our aim is to understand the life-history strategies that malaria parasites have evolved to maximise their transmission to new hosts. These parasites have high medical, veterinary and conservation importance therefore understanding their biology is important from an applied perspective as well as providing novel tests of evolutionary predictions.
We test evolutionary theory in a biomedical context to investigate how the social, in-host, and abiotic environments influence how malaria parasites live their lives. Our approach involves using recent developments in cell and molecular biology, genetic manipulation, immunology and imaging techniques to conduct experiments.
Specific questions we are asking include:
Please follow the links to the right to find out more about the biology of malaria parasites and our research topics.
In addition to malaria parasites, Sarah has also used an unusual species of parasitoid wasp (Melittobia acasta) to understand life-history decisions in the context of co-operation and conflict, and dabbled in sex allocation strategies in Nasonia vitripennis (parasitoid wasps) and Callasobruchus maculata (bean beetles), as well as temperature sex determination in Chelonia mydas and Caretta caretta (sea turtles).
Our approach is largely experimental and we use recent developments in cell and molecular biology, GM, immunology and imaging techniques in an evolutionary framework.