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Dr Shona Wilson

Project: Epidemiology and immunology of human schistosomiasis and other helminth infections

Department of Pathology
University of Cambridge
Tennis Court Road
Cambridge
CB2 1QP

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 333332

Research themes

Parasitology:

Research Interests

Wilson ResearchSchistosomiasis is a debilitating, sometimes fatal, parasitic worm infection that chronically afflicts some 200 million people in many of the world’s poorest countries. It is designated by the WHO as one of the world’s ‘great neglected diseases’ and a ‘disease of poverty’. Free-living parasite larvae, released into freshwater by intermediate host snails, can rapidly penetrate intact human skin. Adult worms then develop and live in the human blood stream for many years, releasing thousands of tissue-damaging eggs. Effective drug treatment is available, but in schistosomiasis endemic areas, reinfection occurs rapidly after treatment, especially in children.

Our on-going projects include:

In Tanzania, in collaboration with Dr Safari Kinung’hi of the National Institute of Medical Research – Mwanza, a focus on ecological and anthropological aspects of urogenital schistosomiasis transmission; geo-referencing specific immune responses with transmission sites, allowing us to analyse the relationships between environmental factors and age-dependent immunity.

In Uganda, in collaboration with Dr Edridah Tukahebwa of the Vector Control Division, Ministry of Health, a focus on the induction of IgE responses to intestinal schistosomiasis and common allergens, and the modulation of these responses by hookworm co-infection. An understanding of IgE mediated responses will provide information that is essential to combating the major parasitic and allergy-related health challenges in both the developed and developing world.

Collaborators

Key Publications

  1. Wilson S, Jones FM, van Dam GJ, Corstjens PL, Riveau G, Fitzsimmons CM, Sacko M, Vennervald BJ, Dunne DW (2014). Human Schistosoma haematobium  anti-fecundity immunity is dependent on transmission intensity and is associated with IgG1 to worm-derived antigens. J Inf Disease 210: 2009-16.
  2. Wilson S, Jones FM, Kenty L-C, Mwatha JK, Kimani G, Kariuki HC, Dunne DW (2014). Post-treatment changes in cytokines induced by Schistosoma mansoni egg and worm antigens: dissociation of immunity and morbidity associated type-2 responses.  J Inf Disease 209: 1792-800.
  3. Pinot de Moira A, Fitzsimmons CM,Jones JM,Wilson S, Cahen P, Tukahebwa E, Mpairwe H,Mwatha JK, Bethony JM, Skov PS, Kabatereine NB, Dunne DW (2014). Suppressed basophil histamine-release and other IgE-dependent responses in childhood schistosomiasis/ hookworm co-infection. J Inf Disease 210:1198-206.
  4. Tukahebwa EM, Magnussen P, Madsen H, Kabatereine NB, Nuwaha F, Wilson S, Vennervald BJ (2013). A very high infection intensity of Schistosoma mansoni in a Ugandan Lake Victoria fishing community is required for association with highly prevalent organ related morbidity. PLoS NTD 7: e2268.
  5. Wilson S, Vennervald BJ, Dunne DW (2011). Chronic hepatosplenomegaly in African school children: a common but neglected morbidity associated with schistosomiasis and malaria. PLoS NTD 5:e1149.