Professor Mark Taylor
Professor Mark Taylor is Professor of Parasitology and Head of the Department of Parasitology at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. He is the Director of A-WOL, an international consortium of academic and industrial partners funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to discover and develop new drugs against riverblindness and elephantiasis.
His area of research is the filarial nematode diseases of humans. These include elephantiasis (lymphatic filariasis) and river blindness (onchocerciasis): two of the leading causes of global disability. His research focuses on the role of Wolbachia-bacterial endosymbionts, which have evolved a mutualistic symbiosis with filarial nematodes that is essential for parasite development, fertility and survival. Whilst the bacteria are beneficial for the nematode, their release into the host results in inflammatory immune activation that leads to adverse events following anti-filarial treatment and contributes to the pathogenesis of river blindness and elephantiasis. His research team performs laboratory and field-based studies to exploit Wolbachia as a target for antibiotic therapy, providing a novel and effective macrofilaricidal treatment for filarial infection and disease.