Short CV/Education and training

  • Since 2018
    Senior Lecturer/ Associate Professor, Cambridge University, Pathology Department

  • 2011 – 2018
    Lecturer in Biology, Keele University, Centre for Applied Entomology & Parasitology. Promoted to Senior Lecturer 2016

  • 2011
    Subeditor, Nature Publishing Group

  • 2005 – 2011
    Postdoctoral research fellow, Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Immunology & Infectious Diseases

  • 2001 – 2004
    PhD student, Cancer Research UK

  • 1997 – 2000
    BA in Natural Sciences, Cambridge University

Selected publications

  • 'G-quadruplex RNA motifs influence gene expression in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum’

    Dumetz, F.*, Chow, E.Y.*, Harris, L.M., Umar, M.I., Jensen, A., Chung, B., Chan, T.F.*, Merrick, C.J.*, Kwok, C.K*. Nucleic Acids Research (2021).

  • 'RecQ helicases in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum affect genome stability, gene expression patterns and DNA replication dynamics.’ Claessens, A., Harris, L.M., Stanojcic, S., Chappell, L., Stanton, A., Kuk, N., Veneziano-Broccia, P., Sterkers, Y., Rayner, J.C., Merrick, C.J. Plos Genetics (2018).

  • 'G-quadruplexes: prediction, characterization, and biological application.' (REVIEW) Kwok, C.K. and Merrick, C.J. Trends in Biotechnology (2017).

  • 'G-quadruplexes in pathogens: a common route to virulence control?' (REVIEW) Harris, L.M. and Merrick, C.J. PLoS Pathogens 11(2):e1004562. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004562 (2015).


    'Hypnozoites in Plasmodium:do parasites parallel plants?’ Merrick, C.J, Trends in Parasitology (2020).

  • 'Checks and Balances? DNA replication and the cell cycle in Plasmodium.' (REVIEW) Matthews, H., Duffy C.W., Merrick, C.J. Invited review, Parasites & Vectors doi:10.1186/s13071-018-2800-1 (2018).

Complete list of publications

Selected projects

  • My group studies the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Research interests are centred around DNA biology, particularly the molecular mechanisms underlying DNA replication and cell cycle control in Plasmodium, which replicates by an unusual method called schizogony.

  • I am also interested in mechanisms for silencing and promoting the recombination of a family of key virulence genes called var genes – particularly the role that G-quadruplex DNA structures may play in var gene control. Var genes encode the major parasite antigen expressed on infected red blood cells; they are found primarily at sub-telomeric loci and their variant expression is under epigenetic control. In fact, we have discovered that G-quadruplexes and their helicases have more general roles in genome stability/evolution in the malaria parasite as well.

  • Finally, I have a long-standing interest in a group of NAD+-dependent deacetylase enzymes called sirtuins which regulate subtelomeric chromatin and virulence gene expression. My postdoctoral work linked the Plasmodium falciparum sirtuins to particular patterns of var gene expression and to severe malaria in human patients.

Membership in scientific bodies/juries

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2012

  • British Society for Parasitology (BSP): Honorary Communications Secretary 2015-2018; member of Council and finance sub-committee, 2012 – 2018

  • Editorial Board member for Frontiers in Microbiology & Scientific Reports

Additional qualifications

  • PG Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (2012, Keele University)


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