Tadge Szestak

Research Assistant and Laboratory Manager

Areas of interest

Cytoadhesion in malaria


Tadge Szestak graduated in Pure & Applied Biology from Oxford University (Keble College) in 1991. He spent the next four years as a Research Technician at the CRC Institute for Cancer Studies in Birmingham involved in the study of early region genes in adenovirus, and then five years as a Research Assistant at the The Babraham Institute, Cambridge working in the field of insulin-like growth factors.  He then spent three years as a Research Scientist with Ionix Pharmaceuticals on the Cambridge Science Park working within a number of drug discovery programmes in the field of pain relief, before joining the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in June 2005.


I am currently working in Professor Alister Craig's group within a project looking at the correlation between severity of disease and the binding profile of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes from patient isolates. The work has involved the employment of binding assays - under both static and flow conditions - to protein and stimulated endothelial cell layers, the production and purification of ICAM-1 protein (which has been shown to be important in the binding of infected erythrocytes to endothelial cells), and also the molecular cloning of the DBLβ2 domain of the malarial protein PfEMP1 from each ICAM-1 binding isolate, and comparing the sequences of these domains. The DBLβ2 domain is thought to be responsible for the binding of infected erythrocytes to ICAM-1.

In addition I am associated with a project aiming to create a novel set of Plasmodium falciparum lines whereby monoclonal antibodies raised against DBLβ2 domains of PfEMP1 will be used to select parasite lines that express PfEMP1 proteins containing specific ICAM-1-binding DBL domains. The antibodies will also be tested for their ability to bind to infected erythrocytes and to inhibit ICAM-1 adhesion.

Laboratory Manager

My role as Laboratory Manager encompasses the following roles:

  • Management of all areas pertaining to Health and Safety in laboratories and good laboratory practice
  • Chairman of the Laboratory User Group
  • Human Tissue Authority (HTA) Licence Coordinator
  • Laboratory Training Coordinator
  • Laboratory Equipment Maintenance Coordinator
  • Membership of:
    • Governance Oversight Committee
    • Health, Safety and Environment Management Committee
    • Laboratory Audit Team
    • Training Working Group
    • Containment Level 3 User Group
    • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and Pathogens Group

Selected publications

  • Selected Publications

    Maier AG, Rug M, O'Neill MT, Brown M, Chakravorty S, Szestak T, Chesson J, Wu Y, Hughes K, Coppel RL, Newbold C, Beeson JG, Craig A, Crabb BS and Cowman AF (2008). Exported proteins required for virulence and rigidity of Plasmodium falciparum-infected human erythrocytes. Cell 134: 48-61.

    Chakravorty SJ, Carret C, Nash GB, Ivens A, Szestak T and Craig AG (2007). Altered phenotype and gene transcription in endothelial cells, induced by Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells: Pathogenic or protective? International Journal for Parasitology 37: 975-987.

    Dekker LV, Daniels Z, Hick C, Elsegood K, Bowden S, Szestak T, Burley JR, Southan A, Cronk D and James IF (2005). Analysis of human Nav1.8 expressed in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells. European Journal of Pharmacology528: 52-58.

    Salih DA, Tripathi G, Holding C, Szestak TA, Gonzalez MI, Carter EJ, Cobb LJ, Eisemann JE and Pell JM (2004). Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 5 (Igfbp5) compromises survival, growth, muscle development, and fertility in mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 101: 4314-4319.

    O'Sullivan DC, Szestak TA and Pell JM (2002). Regulation of IGF-I mRNA by GH: putative functions for class 1 and 2 message.  American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology Metabolism 283: E251-258.

    O'Sullivan DC, Szestak TA and Pell JM (2002). Regulation of hepatic insulin-like growth factor I leader exon usage in lambs: effect of immunization against growth hormone-releasing factor and subsequent growth hormone treatment.  Journal of Animal Science 80: 1074-1082.