Professor Geoff Hide
School of Science, Engineering and Environment
Director, Human and Natural Sciences Directorate
I was educated at Edinburgh University gaining a BSc in Biological Sciences with Honours in Genetics. I did a PhD in the Institute of Animal Genetics at Edinburgh University where I became interested in molecular approaches to the epidemiology of parasites.
I went on to do postdoctoral research at the Wellcome Unit (now Centre) of Molecular Parasitology at the University of Glasgow to work on both molecular epidemiology and cell signaling in parasites.
I was appointed Lecturer, University of Salford in 1998, Reader in 2001 and Professor in August 2004 where I have been able to develop an exciting research portfolio. I am also an Honorary Professor at Gulu University, Uganda.
I have held several posts in the leadership of research and teaching at the University of Salford including Director of the Centre of Parasitology and Disease, 2000 - 2007, Director Biomedical Research Institute, 2006 - 2009, Member of the University Management Group and Senate, 2006 - 2010, and Associate Head of School (Research), 2006- 2011, Academic lead for Biology and Wildlife programmes 2014- 2019 and I am currently Director of Human and Natural Sciences (2019 onwards).
I am on the Editorial Boards of a number of scientific journals including: "Parasitology" (2003 onwards), "Parasites and Vectors" (2008 onwards) and Pathogens (2019 onwards). I have ongoing research collaborations with scientists in the UK and several other countries including China. I have a particularly fruitful collaboration with Professor Zhao-Rong Lun at Zhongshan Medical School at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou. Prof Lun is also an Honorary Visiting Professor at Salford University. I have been invited to China for plenary lectures on several occasions. I have been elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society, Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine.
I am a keen scuba diver and a British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC) National Instructor and First Class Diver. In 2008 I was awarded the annual BSAC Cousteau Award for my contribution to the BSAC over many years. I am author of "The Expedition Manual" (BSAC, 2010). I have been a BSAC Director for 9 years (2011-2020) and was most recently Vice-Chair (2019-2020).
In 2014, I was awarded “Best Teacher” in the Student Led Teaching Awards 2014 run by the University of Salford Student’s Union.
Areas of research
Infectious diseases, Parasitology, Molecular epidemiology, Toxoplasma, Trypanosomes, Host parasite interactions, Epidemiology
Areas of supervision
Toxoplasma and lung cancer, Detection of Toxoplasma in human and animal samples, Investigations of host genes involved in resistance or sensitivity to Toxoplasma, Molecular epidemiology of trypanosome infections
I am Director of Human and Natural Sciences, the Directorate that covers a wide range of subjects from chemistry, through biology and geography to physics. I have formerly been Head of Biology and Wildlife and a programme leader for biology programmes.
My background in genetics, infectious disease biology and the molecular epidemiology of disease involves integration of genetic techniques and field based epidemiology, I bring these interests to my wide teaching profile which spans from teaching on our introductory genetics programme to epidemiology, parasitology and molecular parasitology. I also lead and teach field biology driven by my experience of fieldwork and love of marine environments.
My main research interests are in the molecular epidemiology of parasites where I have major projects including a long term interest in trypanosomes. In this research, we have developed molecular tools for tracking trypanosomes and shown the importance of cattle reservoir hosts on the generation of human sleeping sickness epidemics. More recently we have been developing and evaluating tools for determining prevalences of trypanosomiasis in African cattle. My current projects in this area based around developing a detailed understanding of mobile genetic elements as tools for epidemiology and on using molecular approaches to investigate host-parasite interactions (specifically immune genes like toll-like receptors) in relation to the health of African cattle. I conduct this work in collaboration with scientists at the University of Edinburgh, UK.
Another principal area of my research has been to investigate the role of vertical transmission as a means by which the parasite Toxoplasma gondii is spread. This parasite is a parasite specifically of the cat but is highly successful. It infects all warm blooded animals, including infecting some 30% of the human population globally! My interest is in understanding how this parasite can be so successful. We have been principally interested in the role of mother to offspring (congenital/vertical transmission) as a mode of parasite spread.
I have other ongoing projects which are focused around the epidemiology of Toxoplasma, the related parasite Neospora and other parasites in natural populations such as woodmice, rabbits, rats, british bats, badgers and urban pests. As part of this, I was included in a Salford team that discovered a new species of parasite, Notocotylus malhamensis. Our recent work is focussed on investigating DNA sequence variation and epigenetic variation in genes of the innate immune system in animal and human hosts.
I have ongoing research collaborations with Professor Zhao-Rong Lun in Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou in China. We are interested in the cellular mechanisms that determine the virulence of Toxoplasma gondii in mammalian hosts. We have recently published some exciting research that shows that the balance of expression of two enzymes, Arginase 1 (Arg) and inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase (iNOS), can determine virulence. We have shown that in mice, a species highly susceptible to Toxoplasma infection, have high Arg and low iNOS levels, while rats, that are resistant to the parasite, have low Arg and high iNOS. We have also shown the involvement of the P2Y2 receptor and guanylate binding proteins in host-parasite interactions with Toxoplasma – these are published in two papers in PNAS. As part of this collaboration, we have also been collating data on the prevalence of the parasite in China and we published on infection prevalence in pregnant women in China. We have recently investigated the possible role of Toxoplasma infection in causing post-partum depression. Fortunately, our study demonstrated that there was no link between these conditions.
In a recent ongoing study, in collaboration with colleagues at Manchester University, we have made some exciting findings on Toxoplasma infection in lung cancer patients. This study showed that all of the patients in our sample (72) all had evidence of Toxoplasma infection in their lungs. This is a potentially very important discovery as it may influence the effectiveness of anticancer treatments. We are currently exploring this further.
I have been fortunate to supervise 22 PhD students and two MSc students who have successfully completed and currently have 2 PhD students and an MSc student working with me.
- BSc (Hons) Genetics, University of Edinburgh 1982
- PhD University of Edinburgh 1988
- Fellow of the Linnean Society of London (FLS)
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB)
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine
- Chartered Biologist (CBiol)
- Member of the British Society for Parasitology (BSP)
- Member of the American Society of Microbiology
- Member of the St Kilda Club
I can offer PhD and MSc projects in the following areas:
Investigation of Toxoplasma infection in lung cancer patients.
Investigation of the interactions between Toxoplasma and host brain tissue. Investigation of genetic and epigenetic control of expression of host innate immune genes in response to Toxoplasma infections.
Investigation of genetic polymorphism of host innate immune genes in the context of infection by trypanosomes and Toxoplasma.
And many other aspects.