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Dr Derek Nolan

Molecular Parasitology

D. Nolan photo

Derek P. Nolan,
Associate Professor
Phone 353-1-8962455
Fax 353-1-6715285
Location: Room 5.06, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute


View audio/video clip of Dr Nolan talking about his research (mp4, 71.6MB)

The African trypanosomes are extracellular parasitic protozoa responsible for sleeping sickness in humans and related diseases in domestic animals. These parasites evade the mammalian humoral responses by antigenic variation of the closely packed variable surface glycoprotein (VSG). However, these parasites depend on their host for the supply of certain macromolecules. This requirement highlights a paradox: how do these parasites take up required macromolecules without exposing the molecular machinery involved to the attention of the immune system? Ligand binding and uptake occur only in a specialized region of the cellular surface called the flagellar pocket. Emerging evidence suggests that receptors for host macromolecules are unusual and that endocytic activity is highly polarized and far higher than in other eukaryotes.

The primary interest of the group is characterization the mechanism of endocytosis and trafficking of surface proteins in trypanosomes. The approach is multidisciplinary and is currently focused at identifying and functionally characterizing protein constituents of the flagellar pocket and endocytic pathway in Trypanosoma brucei.


Mr Paul Barry
Ms Jennifer McFarland
Mr Michael Millerick
Robert O'Byrne (Jointly with Dr Paul Voorheis)


Prof Etienne Pays, Molecular Parasitology, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Gosselies B-6041, Belgium.
Dr Jose Antonio Garcia-Salcedo, Insititue of Parasitology, Granada, Spain.
Dr H. Paul Voorheis, School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity College Dublin.
Dr Noel Murphy NUI Maynooth.
Dr F. Braingaud, University of Bordeaux, France.
Prof Sam Black, University of Massachusettes, Amherst, MA, USA


Wellcome Trust, SFI, HRB, IRSECT (Ulysses Scheme), Irish Aid (partner group for CDPC, NUI Maynooth) and PIA (Belgium).



Last updated 16 June 2014 (Email).