Frances D. Gillin, Ph.D.

Frances Gillin, PhD

  • Professor
  • Ph.D. - Case Western Reserve Univ., Cleveland, OH, NIH Pre-doctoral Fellow
  • Postdoctoral Fellow: Dept. of Genetics, Stanford University, National Institutes of Health

Research Interests

Giardia is a major cause of waterborne intestinal disease and is also of basic biological interest as one of the earliest known eukaryotic organisms, with both prokaryotic and eukaryotic properties. Our group's orientation is unusual because we focus broadly on this organism and are not tied to specific techniques (Ann. Rev. Microbiol. 50: 679-705,1996). Our lab has completed the giardial life cycle in vitro for the first time, by inducing the flagellated "trophozoite" form that colonizes the small intestine to differentiate into cysts that survive in the environment. We discovered a novel regulated secretory pathway for the transport of cyst wall proteins during encystation. Cysts infect a new host by responding to signals from the host that lead to a rapid and dramatic differentiation. Excystation entails establishing cellular polarity, cell division, attachment, increases in metabolism, and antigenic switching.

Representative Publications

  1. Reiner DS, Ankarklev J, Troell K, Palm D, Bernander R, Gillin FD, Andersson JO, Svärd SG. Synchronisation of Giardia lamblia: Identification of cell cycle stage-specific genes and a differentiation restriction point. Int J Parasitol. 2008 Jan 18; [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Lauwaet T, Davids BJ, Reiner DS, Gillin FD. Encystation of Giardia lamblia: a model for other parasites. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2007 Dec; 10( 6): 554-9.
  3. Davids BJ, Williams S, Lauwaet T, Palanca T, Gillin FD.Giardia lamblia aurora kinase: A regulator of mitosis in a binucleate parasite. Int J Parasitol. 2008 Mar; 38( 3-4): 353-69.
  4. Morrison HG, McArthur AG, Gillin FD, Aley SB, Adam RD, Olsen GJ, Best AA, Cande WZ, Chen F, Cipriano MJ, Davids BJ, Dawson SC, Elmendorf HG, Hehl AB, Holder ME, Huse SM, Kim UU, Lasek-Nesselquist E, Manning G, Nigam A, Nixon JE, Palm D, Passamaneck NE, Prabhu A, Reich CI, Reiner DS, Samuelson J, Svard SG, Sogin ML.Genomic minimalism in the early diverging intestinal parasite Giardia lamblia. Science. 2007 Sep 28;317(5846):1921-6.
  5. Lauwaet T, Davids BJ, Torres-Escobar A, Birkeland SR, Cipriano MJ, Preheim SP, Palm D, Svärd SG, McArthur AG, Gillin FD. Protein phosphatase 2A plays a crucial role in Giardia lamblia differentiation. Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2007 Mar; 152( 1): 80-9.
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Dr. Gillin received her Ph.D. from Case-Western Reserve University and went on to do her post doctoral training in Infectious Diseases at both Stanford and the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C.

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