Malaria, caused by unicellular eukaryotic parasites of the Plasmodium genus, claims the life of about a million people every year, the majority of whom are children or pregnant women. Although gene regulatory, and in particular epigenetic, mechanism unique to the parasite could provide potential targets for drug based intervention, we know very little about these processes. My research group aims to decipher transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms that govern the development of P. falciparum in the human red blood cells. We use state-of-the-art genomic approaches (e.g. ChIP-seq) to profile the genome-wide distribution of epigenetic features (histone variants, histone post-translational modifications, nucleosome positioning, chromatin modifying enzymes) as well as DNA-binding proteins. These genome-wide maps together with complementary sets of proteomic, biochemical and functional experiments are expected to provide the necessary insight into gene regulatory mechanism of the malaria parasite and important clues for the development of antimalarials compounds.
Richárd Bártfai obtained his PhD from the National University of Singapore and studied gene regulatory mechanism that govern the development of male and female gonads in zebrafish. In 2007 he joined the department of Molecular Biology at Radboud University Nijmegen and deciphered the basic organization of the Plasmodium epigenome. In 2012 he obtained the prestigious NWO-VIDI grant and established his independent research group.
Grants and memberships
EviMalaR – FP7 Network of Excellence (2009-2014) member
NWO-Horizon Breakthrough Project – 100k EUR (2010-2011) main applicant
EuPathDB – Driving Biological Project grant 400k USD (2012-2014) co-applicant
ParaMet Initial Training Network (2012-2016) partner
NWO-VIDI grant – 800k EUR (2013-2018) main applicant