Dr Rob Moon
of Molecular Parasitology
Rob runs a research group at LSHTM using molecular biology and parasite genetics tools to study malaria parasites. Rob primarily works with the malaria parasite Plasmodium knowlesi cultured in human red blood cells, a parasite which infects macaques in SE Asia and is a common cause of malaria in people in this region.
Rob undertook his PhD in Molecular Parasitology at Imperial College London and undertook his postdoc working at the Francis Crick Institute (Formerly National Institute for Medical Research). During this time he has developed new tools and techniques to study rodent malaria parasites and two species of human malaria parasite (P. falciparum and P. knowlesi). His main focus during this work has been addressing mechanisms by which the parasites move into and invade host cells and tissues in both mosquito and human hosts. This has helped to determine the role of proteins involved in cell signalling, molecular motors and host cell recognition and binding. His full publication list is available on this Google Scholar Link.
Rob moved to the LSHTM in 2015 to establish a new group supported by a Medical Research Council Career Development Award.
Rob supervises Masters students from the degree programme within LSHTM and currently supervises a PhD student through a Bloomsbury Research Studentship.
Rob leads a research group focusing on malaria, with a particular interest in Plasmodium knowlesi, a zoonotic malaria parasites from South East Asia. Rob’s work focuses on:
i) Development and use of tools and techniques for experimental genetics in P. knowlesi
ii) Understanding how malaria parasites invade red blood cells and particularly how P. knowlesi is able to invade human red blood cells.
iii) Development of methods to use P. knowlesi as a surrogate to study aspects of P. vivax biology.
Robs work is funded by an MRC Career Development Award entitled “Dissecting the red blood cell invasion pathways of the malaria parasite Plasmodium knowlesi.”
P. knowlesi is a significant issue for Malaysia and now accounts for more than 80% of the locally acquired cases of malaria. Rob also collaborates closely with research labs in Malaysia after developing links during a Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship.