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2014: Dr. Sven Gould

Der diesjährige Ulrich-Hadding-Forschungspreis wurde am 5.12.2014 an Dr. rer. nat. Sven Gould (Institut für Molekulare Evolution, Prof. Dr. William F. Martin) verliehen für seine Leistungen in der zellbiologisch- und genomisch-orientierten Forschung an einem der häufigsten eukaryotischen Parasiten "Trichomonas vaginalis".

Sven Gould - Wissenschaftlicher Werdegang

2003 - Diplom (Master) at the Philipps-University in Marburg
2006 - PhD at the Philipps-University with the title: “Housing an enslaved alga and how to get there“ in Uwe-G. Maier’s group. Disputation on July 14th with summa cum laude
2007-2009 - Research Associate & DFG-Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Australia with Prof. Geoff McFadden and Dr. Ross F. Waller
Januar/2010 - Research Associate at the HHU in the group of Prof. Martin
2015 - Habilitation submitted: “Symbiosis and the evolution of eukaryotic compartments”

* Trained cell biologist with a strong interest in evolutionary dynamics
* Works on a variety of non-model organisms
* Studies the biology and infection mechanism of the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis, one of the most prevalent eukaryotic pathogen of humans

Research Synopsis

Past and current research deals with the evolutionary effect on eukaryotic traits and symbiosis in eukaryotic complexity, focusing in particular on the molecular cell biology of non-model organisms and protist parasites such as Trichomonas vaginalis. T. vaginalis is the causative agent of Trichomoniasis, the most widespread non-viral sexually transmitted disease in humans. Infection involves O2-poor niches, host cell recognition, Fe2+-sequestration, morphogenesis of the parasite from flagellate to amoeboid form upon contact with host tissue, resistance to metronidazole treatment, as well as energy metabolism in and protein import into hydrogenosomes — the anaerobic mitochondria of trichomonads. Current knowledge about the molecular processes and mechanisms of Trichomonas infection is limited. In particular the very early stages of infection and host-parasite interactions are largely uncharacterised. The questions in the foreground of our work are currently i) the nature of parasite adherence to human host cells, ii) changes in core carbon and energy metabolism during infection, iii) the parasite’s transcriptomic response upon contact with host tissue, and iv) the evolution of hydrogenosomes and the parasite’s genome in more general. The methodological repertoire we use to explore Trichomonas encompasses not only the up-to-date cell biology and the latest imaging techniques, but genuine bioinformatical pipelines to analyse NGS-data and develop new machine learning-based tools to determine the function of hypothetical proteins.