Former scientist at the Department of Genetics at Texas Biomed, Ian Cheeseman, Ph.D. recently assumed a new faculty position as an assistant scientist at Texas Biomedical Research Institute and will also be serving as a Milton S. & Geraldine M. Goldstein Young Scientist. Cheeseman brings 5 years of comprehensive experience to Texas Biomed after having worked in Dr. Timothy Anderson’s laboratory since 2010.
Cheeseman has spent years studying malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that kills about 600,000 people every year. While anti-malarial drugs are available, the protozoan that causes the disease has already managed to develop drug resistance. Cheeseman’s work now aims to better understand the genetic aspect of this infection and how this factors into drug resistance.
“We are excited Ian has committed to joining the faculty at Texas Biomed,” said Michael Olivier, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Genetics. “He has made a significant impact in the area of malaria genetics research, and developed innovative novel approaches for his studies. We look forward to watching his research program expand as he looks for genetic answers to aid in the fight against malaria.”
Parasites in malaria infections are genetically diversified, making research a challenge. Cheeseman is known for having created a way to single out individual parasites, enhancing available genetic material via whole genome amplification, and producing a whole sequence. This method earned Cheeseman a 4-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grant worth $1.8 million, making him one of the youngest in the country to ever receive this type of funding.
Some of Cheeseman’s more recent works are featured in this month’s issue of Nature Methods. Under the Centers for Infectious Disease Research and the University of Notre Dame, he and his colleagues developed a new tool to address malaria. Together with Senior Research Associate Shalini Nair in Dr. Anderson’s laboratory, Cheeseman helped open doors to better understanding the genetic root of malaria drug resistance.
“The work I have pursued at Texas Biomed breaks new ground, and I believe it will help in the fight against malaria,” Cheeseman said. “I am excited to become part of a very talented group of faculty at Texas Biomed and continue to grow my research and my career here. I am honored to be named as the first Milton S. & Geraldine M. Goldstein Young Scientist, which was created by a very generous bequest from the Goldsteins.”
Cheeseman received his Bachelor of Science in genetics from the University of Leicester in England, and completed his Master of Science degree in molecular biology of infectious diseases and Ph.D. at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London.