Anushka Ramjag

Ph.D. Candidate

Contact Information

Department of Life Sciences
The University of The West Indies
St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago

Natural Sciences Building

Tel: 1 (868) 314-4792
Fax: 1(868) 663-5241


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  • M.Sci. Biology with a Year in Industry/Research, M.Sci. year specialising in Immunology: Imperial College London, South Kensington, London, 2005-2010
Work Experience:
  • Medical Sales Representative, Janssen c/o Johnson & Johnson, Trincity Industrial Estate, Trinidad
  • Clinical Research Scientist, GlaxoSmithKline Research & Development Limited, Middlesex, United Kingdom
Project Details:

Co-Supervisors: Professor D. Chadee, Dr. A. Cashman (Cave Hill)

Developing a Water Poverty Index for the Caribbean using Trinidad, Barbados and Carriacou as pilot sites. A novel Waterborne Disease Index will also be correspondingly developed using various water quality tests. These will not only provide valuable (and presently unavailable) data on freshwater supplies, quality and practises in the Caribbean but also aid in water resource management.


Past Work:
  • APOBEC activity in Class I and II Mammalian Endogenous Retroviruses and Evidence for APOBEC restriction in Mammals

Abstract: APOBECs (apolipoprotein Bm-RNA editing catalytic polypeptides) are a family of cytidine deaminases with diverse physiological functions. APOBEC3s in particular function in innate defense against retroviruses (e.g. HIV/AIDS) by inducing G-A mutations within the pro-virus in placental mammals. Marsupials were thought to possess only APOBEC1, which functions in lipid transport. Here, evidence is presented for both non-APOBEC3 restriction in marsupials as well as a specialization (of APOBEC) for Class I compared to Class II viruses. The different target sequences and signatures left by each APOBEC on the different proviruses are also explored and consistencies with characterized human APOBEC3s are observed. APOBEC3 was previously thought to be present only in placental mammals. Evidence was also found for an  APOBEC specialization towards different viral classes, suggesting a parallel evolutionary relationship.

  • Investigating Mosquito resistance to the Malaria Parasite

Abstract: A genotyping array was used to analyse pools of Anopheles gambiae individuals which showed different levels of susceptibility to Plasmodium falciparum.  Many genes with single nucleotide polymorphisms in the coding region or nearby were identified as putatively associated with susceptibility/resistance.  A subset of these genes, some with Drosophila orthologues, was tested for a role in resistance using P. berghei as an initial screen. These investigations were carried out using RNA interference as a tool to investigate gene function. dsRNA probes were designed to knockdown these genes within two mosquito colonies. These were then infected with P. berghei and oocysts were counted as a measure of malaria burden.


Revised: 14 October 2013