Name: Hassan Hakimi
Affiliation: NRCPD, Research Unit for Advanced Preventive Medicine
Term: April 2020-May 2021
Host researcher: Prof. Shinichiro Kawazu
Circumstances of application:
As a fellow graduate from NRCPD, I receive emails of advertised positions. It was in Dec
2019 that I was informed of the advertised position when I was at the end of my contract at
Nagasaki University, so I decided to apply for a postdoc position in NRCPD to peruse
research in protozoan parasites.
Research activity in NRCPD:
My research interest is to study the molecular mechanism of host cell modification by
Babesia. Intracellular parasites including Babesia modify host cells to favor their survival.
This modification is done by producing and exporting effector proteins to the host cell
cytoplasm and surface. I was able to get two grants from the Japan Society for the Promotion
of Science on this project and found two novel proteins that modified the properties of
erythrocytes infected with Babesia bovis (Hakimi et al., 2020).
Dissecting the gene function in Babesia parasites is hampered by limited genetic tools. I
adapted CRISPR/Cas9 system for genome editing of B. bovis (Hakimi et al., 2019) which
can accelerate the functional characterization of unknown genes in this parasite.
I found NRCPD has a suitable environment for performing research on protozoan parasites.
During my stay, I tried to transfer my expertise and knowledge to graduate students and
researchers to contribute in NRCPD mission on controlling protozoan parasites.
I am moving to Texas A&M University to study tick-borne pathogens including Babesia.
Having knowledge and experience in parasite genetics and genomics will be beneficial for
studying the tick stage of parasites. I am looking forward to learning the tick infection model
and possible collaboration with NRCPD in the future.