Sumayia Bashir Tanoli

PhD photo of Sumayia Bashir Tanoli

PhD Research Student

MSc (Microbiology and Immunology) University of Karachi Pakistan (2005)
Research Fellow at International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) Pakistan (2005 to 2008)
MSc by research (Cell Biology) University of Edinburgh (2010)

Dr Matthew Tinsley, University of Stirling

Start Date: 1st June 2010

3A135, Cottrell Building
University of Stirling
Stirling, Scotland, FK9 4LA

tel: +44 (0)1786 467831
fax: +(44) 1786 467843
email: Sumayia Bashir Tanoli

Research Project

Cost of Immunity in Drosophila

Within any population there is much variation in the degree of parasite resistance which different individuals exhibit. This variation may exist, at least in part, because parasite resistance and immune function are costly. Many studies have suggested that tradeoffs exist between immunity and other life history traits, such as fecundity, growth and ageing. These tradeoffs are frequently assumed to result from the optimal allocation of limited resources to different physiological systems.  Perhaps at their most fundamental level, the currency for immune tradeoffs may be energy expenditure. However, few studies have made direct measurements of the energetic costs of immune defence, particularly in invertebrates.

Drosophila is a useful model system for investigating evolutionary tradeoffs, as well as the mechanisms underlying them. My research aims to investigate the energetic costs of immune defence in Drosophila. I am using infra-red gas analysers to assess the metabolic rate of flies by measuring carbon dioxide (CO2) production. This has enabled me to measure how the energetic budget of flies changes whilst they mount an immune response. I plan to study the immune mechanisms which underlie these metabolic costs and also to investigate how wildtype fly genotypes differ in their ability to bear the costs of parasite resistance.

Drosophila melanogaster (
Drosophila melanogaster (

Breeding of Drosophila melanogaster
Breeding of Drosophila melanogaster

Working bench (Microscope, Drosophila and CO2 gas pad)

Working bench (Microscope, Drosophila and CO2 gas pad)

Infra-red gas analyser (IRGA) to measure the CO2 output of Drosophila

Infra-red gas analyser (IRGA) to measure the CO2 output of Drosophila

Previous Research Background

My previous research background is in the field of clinical immunobiology and cell biology. I before worked as a junior research fellow at ICCBS, University of Karachi, Pakistan. The role of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) in acute transplant rejection is well known and for successful transplantation there is a need to suppress the activity of CTLs to an extent. Therefore, my project as a research fellow was based on a large scale screening of various natural and synthetic compounds for their effects to suppress the effector molecules of cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Later I worked in the field of vaccinology during my MSc by research degree at the University of Edinburgh. I investigated the immunomodulatory effects of two proteins derived from the Leishmania parasite which were prospective vaccine candidates. My work was in BALB/c mice which were first immunized using the tested vaccine candidates and then challenged with L. major parasite. I analysed the cell mediated and humoral immune responses of both post-immunized and post-challenged blood and spleen samples using Flowcytometry and ELISA respectively. I demonstrated that prior exposure to one protein (P08.1190) had a protective effect against L. major infection, whereas the second protein (P25.1680) exacerbated the severity of the disease.

Leishmania promastigotes with an anterior flagellum (L. major). (Image at /leishmania.jpg
Leishmania promastigotes with an anterior flagellum (L. major). (Image at /leishmania.jpg

Subtypes of T lymphocytes
Subtypes of T lymphocytes

MSc research thesis: (Outcome of L. major infection after immunization of mice with two antigens, Ag 08.1190 and Ag 25.1680 and correlation with T cell and B cell immune responses): Unpublished, University of Edinburgh.

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