Joel Dacks


Research in the Dacks lab aims to understand how cells import, export, and transport material between different locations, via the membrane-trafficking system. This process is crucial for healthy cellular function: when disregulated in humans, it can cause disease including neurodegenerative conditions; in parasites, it is integral to their disease causing mechanisms. We have an active program addressing such parasites and their membrane-trafficking machinery, Past WCHRI-funded projects include studies on pregnancy-associated Malaria, and on Toxoplasma, which can be fatal to foetuses. Our current work includes studies on Trichomoniasis, the world's most prevalent non-viral STD. Men are asymptomatic carriers of this parasite, but women experience painful vaginal bleeding and discharge, as well as higher incidence of HIV. Overall, our approach is to use genomic and computational approaches with an evolutionary lens to understand how the parasites work and how they might better be combatted.