Matthias Marti is a molecular and cell biologist with 20 years of experience working in the area of infectious diseases. Initially studying the cell biology of the intestinal parasite Giardia lamblia, has switched fields to malaria while working as a postdoc in the lab of geneticist Alan Cowman in Australia. In the Cowman lab, Matthias helped define and functionally characterize a protein motif required for the secretion of parasite antigens into the host cell. Once at Harvard he shifted his focus to malaria transmission, as this area remains understudied yet critical for the malaria elimination agenda. During the 10 years at Harvard Matthias established various tools and started to combine bench work with field studies. These interdisciplinary studies led to the identification of the human bone marrow as a niche for the development of malaria transmission stages. Subsequent work in the lab has confirmed this finding in non-human primates and the rodent malaria model. Recently his lab identified a serum phospholipid as the environmental sensor regulating parasite growth and transmission during human infection. Ongoing collaborations include College of Medicine in Blantyre, Malawi where a clinical laboratory is currently being built with support of the Scottish government.
Host: Dr Mattie Pawlowic