Training for Careers in
Biomedical Research

   PhD Program
   Program Overview
   All Faculty
   Faculty Research Groups
           - Click Banner Insignias
   Info for MSTP applicants
   Info for Current Students
   Class Offerings
   Financial Support
   Annual Research Retreat
   Research Seminars Calendar
   Med-Into-Grad Program

   Local Scientific Resources
   Sanford|Burnham Institute
   The UCSD Cancer Center
   Ludwig Institute, UCSD
   Scripps Research Institute
   Salk Institute



Frances Gillin

Affiliation: UCSD SOM
Professor of Pathology
Phone: 619-543-6146



1963 B.S., Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA (Honors Degree).

1967 Ph.D. Case Western Reserve Univ., Cleveland, OH, NIH Pre-doctoral Fellow

Professional experience:

Postdoctoral Fellow: Dept. of Genetics, Stanford University, National Institutes of Health

Professor of Pathology, Division of Infectious Diseases, UCSD Member, Center for Molecular Genetics

Research Summary

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.

Current questions include:

1. How are giardial genes regulated during differentiation?

2. What are the cell signaling pathways in differentiation and pathogenesis?

3. What is the nature of giardial "crosstalk" with the host' intestinal epithelium?

4. What are the structure and function of the unusual cysteine-rich variant surface protein of Giardia?

5. What can Giardial genes and pathways tell us about the evolution of the eukaryotic cell?

6. How does Giardia make people sick?


References From PubMed (NCBI)


Questions or comments about the program?
©2008 UCSD/Burnham Molecular Pathology Graduate Program