Dr Tristan Dennis
My background is in paleovirology, where I used bioinformatic approaches to examine the long-term relationships between viruses and their hosts. Recently, I have made the daunting step of switching to eukaryotes, joining the Lamberton Lab in autumn 2018, where I am now working as a parasite bioinformatician. My research uses high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatic techniques to study the evolution of Onchocerca volvulus, a nematode parasite that causes debilitating skin disease and blindness. Studying Onchocerca genetics within a host can be difficult, as the adult parasite is embedded in nodules, the excision of which involves invasive surgery. Because of this, there is currently no easy way to determine the difference between reactivation and reinfection in infections that recur after drug treatment. Offspring worms are easier to isolate and sequence. As such, I am working to develop bioinformatic approaches that use sequences from offspring worms in order to differentiate between reactivation and reinfection in patients that have been treated with drugs in clinical trials in Ghana and Cameroon. Additionally, I am hoping to use the genomic data generated in these experiments to provide more general insights into the evolution, diversity, and host interactions of these parasites.
TPW Dennis, WM de Souza, S Marsile-Medun, JB Singer, SJ Wilson, and RJ Gifford (2018) The evolution, distribution and diversity of endogenous circoviral elements in vertebrate genomes. Virus Research: March.
H Zhu, TPW Dennis, J Hughes, and RJ Gifford (2018) Database-integrated genome screening (DIGS): exploring genomes heuristically using sequence similarity search tools and a relational database. BioRXIV.
WM de Souza, TPW Dennis, MJ Fumagalli, J Araujo, G Sabino-Santos, FGM Maia, GO Acrani, ADOT Carrasco, MF Romeiro, S Modha, LC Vieira, T Ometto, LH Queiroz, EL Durigon, MRT Nunes, LTM Figueiredo, and RJ Gifford (2018) Novel parvoviruses from wild and domestic animals in Brazil provide new insights into parvovirus distribution and diversity. Viruses: 10:4.
AE Shaw, J Hughes, Q Gu, A Behdenna, JB Singer, TPW Dennis, RJ Orton, M Varela, RJ Gifford, SJ Wilson, and M Palmarini (2017) Fundamental properties of the mammalian innate immune system revealed by multispecies comparison of type I interferon responses. PLoS Biology: 15:12 p 1–23.