Research Group of Dr Boris Striepen, University of Georgia

Research Group of Dr Boris Striepen, University of Georgia

Boris Striepen is an Associate Professor in the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases & Department of Cellular Biology at the University of Georgia. His group is interested in the cell and molecular biology of protozoan parasites that cause severe opportunistic infections in AIDS patients. In particular they are studying the cell and molecular biology of apicomplexan parasites.

Apicomplexa harbor a remnant chloroplast that they obtained through secondary endosymbiosis. This organelle is essential for parasite growth and provides several exciting new targets for drug development. Using transgenic parasites and in vivo microscopy the Striepen group is studying the replication of this important organelle during the parasite's intracellular development. Their analyses show that the apicoplast is divided and segregated in association with the poles of the mitotic spindle. Recently they have also identified a novel contractile ring which they believe is required for fission of the organelle during mitosis. Lastly they are interested in the role of specific plastid pathways for the development and pathogenesis of the parasite. Currently they are using a combined genomic and genetic approach to identify key molecules in plastid division, protein import and metabolic function.

Boris received his Ph.D. at Philipps-Universität in Marburg, Germany in the field of glycolipid biochemistry. He then did his postdoctoral research studying the cellular biology and molecular genetics of Toxoplasma gondii at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia before taking his current position at the University of Georgia.

The Striepen lab routinely uses Openlab and Volocity for image acquisition, 3D reconstruction and quantitative image analysis. They frequently use live imaging approaches using transgenic parasites expressing fluorescent protein reporters.

Boris writes "We have found Openlab and Volocity very suitable for our imaging needs. Improvision generously supported our experiments at the Biology of Parasitism summer course at the MBL in Woods Hole with software packages and equipment and we are very grateful for the continuous support of the course”

For more information about research done in the Striepen lab please visit their web site, where you will find a number of stunning images and movies of parasites expressing green fluorescent protein.

The plastid of Sarcocystis neurona is associated with its multiple mitotic spindles.

T. gondii parasites within a human host cell. A GFP fusion protein is secreted by the parasites into the lumen of the parasitophorous vacuole.