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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School

Studying at Cambridge


Dr Cinzia Cantacessi

Dr Cinzia  Cantacessi

Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Parasitology

Cinzia Cantacessi is accepting applications for PhD students.

Office Phone: +44 (0) 1223 760541


I completed my Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the University of Bari (Italy) in 2006, with a thesis on the life cycle of the 'oriental eyeworm', Thelazia callipaeda, under the supervision of Professor Domenico Otranto. I then moved to Australia, where, I completed a PhD in Molecular Parasitology at The University of Melbourne (2011) under the guidance of Professor Robin Gasser, focusing on studies of the fundamental biology of helminth parasites using high-throughput sequencing technologies and bioinformatics. In 2012, I was honoured to receive a Peter Doherty Early Career Research Fellowship by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia to continue my research on the molecular bases of host-parasite interactions in the laboratory of Professor Alex Loukas at James Cook University in Cairns. In 2013, I moved to the Cambridge Vet School where I continue my research on mechanisms of host-parasite interactions using cutting-edge molecular tools.

Subject groups/Research projects

Infection and Immunity:
Mathematical Biology:

Research Interests

My current research focus is the application of next-generation sequencing technologies and bioinformatics to the study of developmental regulation in parasites of human and veterinary health importance, as well as of the molecular bases of host-parasite interactions, with a particular emphasis on gastrointestinal, soil-transmitted helminths of humans (e.g. hookworms, whipworms, roundworms) and on vector-borne parasites of dogs. My research interests also include the development of new bioinformatic pipelines for nucleic acid sequence analyses, including software for the identification of putative rational targets for the development of novel treatment and control strategies against parasitic diseases. Recently, I focused my attention to study the sequence, structural features and transcription profiles of parasites molecules with unknown function, in order to elucidate their involvement in the cascade of biological events leading to the invasion of, and the establishment in, the vertebrate host(s), as well as to the modulation of the host immune response.

Main collaborators



  • Canine vector-borne diseases
  • Geohelminths
  • Transcriptomics
  • Bioinformatics

Key Publications

Most recent publications

1. Giacomin P., Zakrzewski M., Croese J., Su X., Sotillo J., McCann L., Navarro S., Mitreva M., Krause L., Loukas A., Cantacessi C., 2015: Experimental hookworm infection and escalating gluten challenges are associated with increased microbial richness in celiac subjects. Scientific Reports, 5: 13797.

2. Giacomin P., Croese J., Krause L., Loukas A., Cantacessi C., 2015: Suppression of inflammation by helminths: a role for the gut microbiota? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1675): 20140296.

3. Cantacessi C., Dantas-Torres F., Nolan M.J., Otranto D., 2015: The past, present and future of Leishmania genomics and transcriptomics. Trends in Parasitology, in press. *Article featured on issue front cover.

4.  Chaiyadet S., Sotillo J., Smout M., Cantacessi C., Jones M.K., Johnson M.S., Turnbull L., Whitchurch C.B., Potriquet J., Laohaviroj M., Mulvenna J., Brindley P., Bethony J.M., Laha T., Sripa B., Loukas A., 2015: Carcinogenic liver fluke secretes extracellular vesicles that promote cholangiocytes to adopt a tumorigenic phenotype. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 212: 1636-45.

5. Tribolet L., Cantacessi C., Pickering D.A., Navarro S., Doolan D.L., Trieu A., Fei H., Chao Y., Hofmann A., Gasser R.B., Giacomin P.R., Loukas A., 2015: Probing a human proteome microarray with a recombinant pathogen protein reveals a novel mechanism by which hookworm suppress B cell receptor signaling. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 211(3): 416-25.