Andrew Russell

Wellcome Sanger Institute

I completed my undergraduate MBiochem degree in Biochemistry at the University of Oxford in 2016. During this time, I conducted research in the labs of Prof. Chris Bakal (The Institute of Cancer Research, London) and Prof. Julie Ahringer (The Gurdon Institute, Cambridge), and completed my Masters project in the lab of Prof. Jane Mellor. These experiences consolidated my growing interest in understanding the various cellular networks that underpin cellular behaviour, and the nature of the perturbed networks during disease states. During my PhD, this interest was focussed onto malaria parasites.

Malaria is caused by single-celled parasitic organisms that display remarkable cellular plasticity during their life cycle. These transformations are underpinned by changes in gene expression, and despite the importance of malaria in global health, the function of ~40% of genes in the parasite genome remain unknown. I have used single-cell RNA-seq to help build a Malaria Cell Atlas which profiled the expression of genes in all life cycle stages. This has led to the identification of putative gene functions for genes with unknown function. Additionally, I have profiled the process of malaria parasite sexual development which has led to the identification of novel genes involved in sex determination and differentiation. In summary, these discoveries will inform the development of much needed new drugs, vaccines, and transmission-blocking strategies.

Other 2021 award winners

Karsten Bach

Lydia Collas

Benjamin Droguet

Tiarnan Doherty

Anujan Poologaindran

Zhaozhi Qian

Pedro Vianez

Léa Wenger

Michael Whitehead

Previous award winners

Find out about the winners awarded in previous years: