Gruppe Olias

Philipp Olias
PD Dr. Philipp Olias (Group Leader)

Single-celled parasites of the phylum Apicomplexa are important pathogens responsible for various significant animal and human diseases, including toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidiosis, and theileriosis. In my group, we are interested in the molecular mechanisms as to how these apicomplexan parasites interact with their host cells and cause disease.

The main organisms utilized in the lab are the cattle pathogens Theileria annulata and Theileria parva, which both have a substantial socio-economic impact, and the zoonotic parasite Cryptosporidium parvum. Cryptosporidium parasites are the leading cause of diarrhoea in calves, one of the most important diseases in cattle. Cryptosporidium parasites are also leading diarrheal pathogens in humans, resulting in substantial child mortality globally.

Theileria parasites are widely recognized for their transformative capacity due to the interference with multiple host signaling pathways, thereby turning cells into a cancer cell-like state. We are particularly interested in identifying the parasite virulence effectors responsible for this transformation, and to better understand their mode of action. A better understanding of the molecular processes involved in parasite-host interaction may enable the development of novel therapeutics that reduce the devastating effects of these pathogens.