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Cambridge Infectious Diseases

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

Studying at Cambridge


Dr Julian Rayner

Dr  Julian  Rayner

Senior Group Leader

We use high throughput approaches to understand the biology of malaria parasites and prioritise new drug and vaccine targets

Departments and Institutes

Wellcome Sanger Institute:

Research Interests

My group uses high-throughput approaches, including protein-protein interaction screens, experimental genetics, genomics and proteomics to understand Plasmodium parasite cell biology and to prioritize vaccine and drug targets. My research is split into two broad areas. The first uses molecular and cellular tools to identify and understand the interactions between Plasmodium parasites and human erythrocytes that catalyse the essential process of erythrocyte invasion, and assess their potential as vaccine targets. The second is expanding and scaling up genetic approaches to systematically study Plasmodium parasite biology. In addition to running my own research group, I am Director of Wellcome Genome Campus Connecting Science, which aims to enable everyone to explore genomics and its impact on research, health and society and delivers learning and engagement events to more than 30,000 scientists, healthcare professionals and members of the public every year.

Key Projects, Countries, and Partners

Kenya - multiple collaborations with researchers at KEMRI-Wellcome, including Dr. Tom Williams, Dr. Philip Bejon, Dr. Isabella Ocholla and Dr. Abdi Abdirahman, on host-parasite interactions during Plasmodium falciparum blood stages.
Ghana - collaboration with Prof. Gordon Awandare at University of Ghana, focussed on learning and training in malaria cell biology, and understanding natural variation in erythrocyte invasion pathways.
Colombia - collaboration with Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogota, focussed on Plasmodium falciparum malaria on the Pacific Coast of Colombia, an area of high health inequality and where P. falciparum is the dominant malaria parasite species.


  • Genomics
  • Genetics
  • Host-Pathogen Interaction
  • Vaccine development
  • Pathogenesis
  • Cross-species transmission
  • Parasitology
  • Drug Discovery


  • Malaria