Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Boothroyd, John C.
Location Stanford University School of Medicine
Primary Field Microbial Biology
Secondary Field Animal, Nutritional and Applied Microbial Sciences
 Election Citation
Boothroyd discovered mRNA trans-splicing and polycistronic transcription in eukaryotes (trypanosomes). He launched genetic manipulation and analysis of Toxoplasma, identifying a clonal population structure and the molecular basis of invasion and strainspecific virulence. His work brings new understanding to intracellular parasitism, with important impact for all apicomplexans including malaria parasites.
 Research Interests
Dr. Boothroyd is fascinated by the interaction of an infectious agent and the host it infects. His entry into this field came with his joining a collaborative effort to understand antigenic variation in Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of African Sleeping Sickness. His group went on to co-discover mRNA trans-splicing and polycistronic transcription in these single-celled eukaryotes. For about the past 25 years, he and his collaborators have been immersed in studying the pathogenesis of another single-celled eukaryote, Toxoplasma gondii. Unlike the African trypanosomes, this ubiquitous cousin of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium, can only grow within another cell. His current work is focused on asking: (1) how Toxoplasma invades and co-opts almost any cell type from almost any warm-blooded animal; (2) how the parasite persists in the human host; 3) how it introduces a collection of polymorphic "effectors" into a host cell; and 4) how these varied effectors produce different disease severity in the host, ranging from asymptomatic to fatal.

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