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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 interested in taking PhD students.

Office Phone: +44 (0) 1223 760541

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.

Prizes, Honours and Awards

  • 2013: NHMRC Frank Fenner Fellowship (Australia) (research excellence award).
  • 2012: Chancellor’s Prize for Excellence in PhD thesis (The University of Melbourne, Australia).
  • 2009: Dr Sue Newton Award (The University of Melbourne, Australia).
  • 2008: Sir Clunies-Ross Prize (The University of Melbourne, Australia).


Main collaborators



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

Key Publications

Key publications

Prasopdee S., Tesana S, Sotillo J., Laha T., Kulsantiwong J., Nolan M.J., Loukas A., Cantacessi C., 2014: RNA-Seq reveals infection-induced gene expression changes in the snail intermediate host of the carcinogenic liver fluke, Opisthorchis viverrini. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, in press.

Cantacessi C., Seddon J.M., Miller T.L., Leow C.Y., Thomas L., Mason L., Willis C., Walker G., Loukas A., Gasser R.B., Jones M.K., Hofmann A., 2013: A genome-wide comparative analysis of annexins from parasitic organisms and their vectors. Scientific Reports, 3:2893.

Dantas-Torres F., Capelli G., Giannelli A., Nacimento-Ramos R., Lia R.P., Cantacessi C., de Caprariis D., De Tommasi A.S., Latrofa M.S., Lacasella T., Tarallo V., Di Paola G., Qurollo P., Breitschwerdt E., Stanneck D., Otranto D., 2013: Efficacy of an imidacloprid/flumethrin collar against fleas, ticks and tick-borne pathogens in dogs. Parasites & Vectors, 6(1):245.

Otranto D., Dantas-Torres F., de Caprariis D., Di Paola G., Tarallo V.D., Latrofa M.S., Lia R.P., Annoscia G., Breitshwerdt E.B., Cantacessi C., Capelli G., Stanneck D., 2013. Prevention of canine leishmaniosis in a hyper-endemic area using a combination of 10% imidacloprid/4.5 % flumethrin. PLoS One, 8(2):e56374.

Cantacessi C., Prasopdee S., Sotillo J., Mulvenna J., Tesana S., Loukas A., 2013: Coming out of the shell: building the molecular infrastructure for research on parasite-harbouring snails. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 7(9):e2284.

Cantacessi C., Mulvenna J., Young N.D., Kasny M., Horak P., Aziz A., Hofmann A., Loukas A., Gasser R.B., 2012. A deep exploration of the transcriptome and ‘excretory/secretory’ proteome of adult Fascioloides magna. Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, 11(11):1340-1353.

Young N.D., Jex A.R., Li B., Liu S., Yang L., Xiong Z., Li Y., Cantacessi C., Hall R.S., Xu X., Chen F., Wu X., Zerlotini A., Oliveira G., Hofmann A., Zhang G., Fang X., Kang Y., Campbell B.E., Loukas A., Ranganathan S., Rollinson D., Rinaldi G., Brindley P.J., Yang H., Wang J., Wang J., Gasser R.B., 2012. Whole-genome sequence of Schistosoma haematobium. Nature Genetics, 44(2):221-225.

Cantacessi C., Campbell B.E., Gasser R.B., 2012. Key strongylid nematodes of animals – impact of next-generation transcriptomics on systems biology and biotechnology. Biotechnology Advances, 30(3):469-488 (IF: 9.646).

Jex A.R., Li B., Young N.D., Hall R.S., Li Y., Yang L., Zeng N., Xu X., Xiong Z., Chen F., Wu X., Zhang G., Fang X., Yi K., Anderson G., Campbell B.E., Vlamink J., Wang T., Cantacessi C., Schwarz E., Ranganathan S., Geldhof P., Nesjum P., Sternberg P.W., Yang H., Wang J., Wang J., Harris T., Gasser R.B., 2011. Ascaris suum draft genome. Nature, 479(7374):529-533.

Cantacessi C., Young N.D., Nejsum P, Jex A.R., Campbell B.E., Hall R.S., Thamsborg S.M., Scheerlinck J.-P., Gasser R.B., 2011. The transcriptome of Trichuris suis – first molecular insights into a parasite with curative properties for key immune diseases of humans. PLoS One, 6(8):e23590.

Cantacessi C., Gasser R.B., Strube C., Schnieder T., Jex A.R., Hall R.S., Campbell B.E., Young N.D., Ranganathan S., Sternberg P.W., Mitreva M., 2011. Deep insights into Dictyocaulus viviparus transcriptomes provides unique prospects for new drug targets and disease intervention. Biotechnology Advances, 29(3):261-271.

Cantacessi C., Jex A.R., Hall R.S., Young N.D., Campbell B.E., Joachim A., Nolan M.J., Abubucker S., Sternberg P.W., Ranganathan S., Mitreva M., Gasser R.B., 2010. A practical, bioinformatic workflow system for large datasets generated by next-generation sequencing. Nucleic Acids Research, 38(17):e171.

Young N.D., Campbell B.E., Hall R.S., Jex A.R., Cantacessi C., Laha T., Sohn W.M., Sripa B., Loukas A., Brindley P., Gasser R.B., 2010. Unlocking the transcriptomes of two carcinogenic parasites, Clonorchis sinensis and Opisthorchis viverrini. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 4(6):e719.

Cantacessi C., Mitreva M., Jex A.R., Young N.D., Campbell B.E., Hall R.S., Doyle M.A., Ralph S.A., Rabelo E.M., Ranganathan S., Sternberg P.W., Loukas A., Gasser R.B., 2010. Massively parallel sequencing and analysis of the Necator americanus transcriptome. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 4(5):e684.

Cantacessi C., Campbell B.E., Visser A., Geldhof P., Nolan M.J., Nisbet A.J., Matthews J.B., Loukas A., Hofmann A., Otranto D., Sternberg P.W., Gasser R.B., 2009. A portrait of the “SCP/TAPS” proteins of eukaryotes – developing a framework for fundamental research and biotechnological outcomes. Biotechnology Advances, 27(4):376-388.

Huang C.Q., Gasser R.B., Cantacessi C., Nisbet A.J., Zhong W., Sternberg P.W., Loukas A., Mulvenna J., Lin R.Q., Chen N., Zhu X.Q., 2008. Genomic-bioinformatic analysis of transcripts enriched in the third-stage larva of the parasitic nematode Ascaris suum. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2(6):e246.

Otranto D., Stevens J.R., Cantacessi C., Gasser R.B., 2008. Parasite transmission by
insects: a female affair?. Trends in Parasitology, 24(3):116-120.

Gasser R.B., Cantacessi C., Loukas A., 2008. DNA technological progress toward advanced diagnostic tools to support human hookworm control. Biotechnology Advances, 26(1):35-45.

Otranto D., Paradies P., Lia R.P., Latrofa M.S., Testini G., Cantacessi C., Mencke N., Galli G., Capelli G., Stanneck D., 2007. Efficacy of a combination of 10% imidacloprid / 50% permethrin for the prevention of leishmaniasis in kennelled dogs in an endemic area. Veterinary Parasitology, 144(3-4):270-278.

Otranto D., Cantacessi C., Testini G., Lia R.P., 2006: Phortica variegata as an intermediate host of Thelazia callipaeda under natural conditions: evidence for pathogen transmission by a male arthropod vector. International Journal for Parasitology, 36, 1167 – 1173.