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Professor Robert Hirt


Ordinary Council member (2018-2021)

Professor of Evolutionary Parasitology at Newcastle University.

1) Research interests
I use microbial parasites as model systems to study eukaryote cell and genome evolution. This work also leads to new insights into the molecular basis of host-parasite interactions. My research focus on the extracelluar parasite Trichomonas vaginalis and relatives and the intracellular parasites Microsporidia. Topics include the role of lateral gene transfer and gene duplications in parasite genome evolution, surface proteins mediating host-parasite interactions and mucosal microbiology including the microbiota.

• Provide a better understanding of eukaryote origins and diversification through comparative genomics and molecular phylogenetics
• Broaden comparative molecular and cellular studies of eukaryotes to provide a more comprehensive picture of their condition
• Contribute to deciphering the molecular and cellular basis of mucosal microbes interactions with their hosts, integrating both pathogens (microbial parasites) and mutualists (including bacteria)

2) Promotion of parasitology
As a member of the BSP Council Robert would like to highlight and promote the following aspects of parasitology research and teaching:
• Microbial parasites as important and fascinating model system to study eukaryote genome and cellular evolution
• Integrating parasitology with microbiology (bacteriology and virology) will be essential to gain new insights into mucosal microbiology and immunology and how host-microbe interactions influence health and disease
• Promote the teaching of parasitology in academic and school settings

3) University webpage: