Abdi is a molecular biologist with special interest in malaria. Abdi worked with the Programme between 2005-2006 as an intern/research assistant investigating antimalarial drug resistance. In 2006, he was awarded a Ph.D. studentship by the AntiMal International Ph.D. Programme where he joined Prof Christian Doerig's laboratory at the University of Glasgow working on P. falciparum protein Kinases. He rejoined the Programme in 2010 as Post Doc to work with Dr Peter Bull on PfEMP1 and it is role in the pathogenesis of severe malaria. Abdi then developed interest in studying extracellular vesicles such as exosomes with particular focus on malaria parasite extracellular vesicles and their potential role in pathogenesis and immunity. He led a successful Wellcome Trust Training Fellowship (2014-2015) and Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellowship (April 2018-March 2023) to study this area of research.
My current work focuses on understanding the role of P. falciparum secreted extracellular vesicles (EVs) in malaria immunity and pathogenesis. EVs consist of two main types: 1) exosomes formed within the endosomal network, housed in multivesicular body (MVB) and released into the extracellular environment upon fusion of MVB with the plasma membrane, and 2) microvesicles formed by budding of the plasma membrane. Exosomes and microvesicles have a diameter between 30-150 nm and 100-1000 nm respectively. The biological importance of EVs lies in their ability to transfer information from one cell to another through bioactive molecules such as proteins, lipids, RNA, and DNA packaged within EVs thereby influencing the function of the recipient cells. EVs can travel long distance without their content degrading or diluting and are present in all body fluids, making them potential targets for diagnosis. P. falciparum EVs (PfEVs) have been shown to mediate genetic exchange between parasite isolates and induce sexual commitment. My current work aims to comprehensively describe the RNA and protein content of P. falciparum extracellular vesicles using clinical isolates and study their role in malaria immunity and pathogenesis of severe malaria.
Tan, J., Pieper, K., Piccoli, L., Abdi, A., Foglierini, M., Geiger, R., Tully, C. M., Jarrossay, D., Ndungu, F. M., Wambua, J., Bejon, P., Fregni, C. S., Fernandez-Rodriguez, B., Barbieri, S., Bianchi, S., Marsh, K., Thathy, V., Corti, D., Sallusto, F., Bull, P., Lanzavecchia, A.
Nature. 2016; : 105-9
Abdi, A. I., Warimwe, G. M., Muthui, M. K., Kivisi, C. A., Kiragu, E. W., Fegan, G. W., Bull, P. C.
Sci Rep. 2016; : 19882
Warimwe, G. M., Abdi, A. I., Muthui, M., Fegan, G., Musyoki, J. N., Marsh, K., Bull, P. C.
Infection and Immunity. 2016; :
Borrmann, S., Straimer, J., Mwai, L., Abdi, A., Rippert, A., Okombo, J., Muriithi, S., Sasi, P., Kortok, M. M., Lowe, B., Campino, S., Assefa, S., Auburn, S., Manske, M., Maslen, G., Peshu, N., Kwiatkowski, D. P., Marsh, K., Nzila, A., Clark, T. G.
Sci Rep. 2013; : 3318
Abdi, A. I., Fegan, G., Muthui, M., Kiragu, E., Musyoki, J. N., Opiyo, M., Marsh, K., Warimwe, G. M., Bull, P. C.
BMC Infect Dis. 2014; : 170