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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge
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    Dr Alejandro Marin-Menendez

    Murray Edwards College
    Huntingdon Road
    CB3 0DF

    Research Fellow in Molecular Biology & Infectious Disease

    Natural Sciences (Biological)


    I feel honoured to be part of the Murray Edwards community which provides an excellent environment for female students to develop their full potential.

    Degrees and Honours

    • BSc in Veterinary & BSc in Biochemistry – Complutense University Madrid
    • MSc in Education – University of Seville
    • PhD in Microbiology – Trinity College Dublin

    Awards and Prizes

    • ‘Scicling-Sequencing’ - Enabling Fund Award, Connecting Science at Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, 2019
    • ‘Scicling - a Public Engagement Initiative’ - Best Social Project Award at Shark-Tank IMFAHE, 2019
    • Scicling- a Public Engagement Initiative’ - Enabling Fund Award, Connecting Science at Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, 2018

    Research Interests

    • Malaria
    • Infectious Diseases
    • Drug-resistance
    • Vaccine Development
    • Public Engagement


    Alejandro (Alex) graduated in Veterinary from Complutense University of Madrid in 2005, completing also a BSc in Biochemistry in that comprised a year at KTH (Stockholm). With a strong commitment to work with infectious diseases, he pursued his PhD in mechanisms of drug-resistance in malaria parasites under Prof Bell’s supervision at Trinity College Dublin. Soon after depositing his thesis, he accepted a scientist position at PregVax, an international consortium investigating Plasmodium vivax infections during pregnancy with clinical samples in Manaus (Brazil), Karolinska Institute (Sweden) and ISGlobal (Spain). In late 2016, after a four years break (including 18 months as a Senior Microbiologist in a spin-off developing novel DNA-based antibacterial formulations), he took up a position as a postdoctoral fellow in Julian Rayner’s team at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. There, he has been investigating a rare polymorphism associated to natural resistance to malaria infections both at the Sanger and the Kenyan Medical Research Institute, and recently he has moved to attempt CRISPR high-throughput knock-out screens in P. knowlesi. Currently, he is also leading ‘Scicling’, a Public Engagement Initiative.


    Red blood cell tension controls Plasmodium falciparum invasion and protects against severe malaria in the Dantu blood group’. Kariuki SN*, Marin-Menendez A*, Introini V*, Ravenhill BJ, Lin YC, Macharia A, Makale J, Tendwa M, Nyamu W, Kotar J, Carrasquilla M, Rowe AJ, Rockett K, Kwiatkowski D, Weekes MP, Cicuta P, Williams TN, Rayner JC. bioRxiv (22nd November 2018) 475442 (under revision in Nature)

    A forward genetic screen reveals a primary role for Plasmodium falciparum Reticulocyte Binding Protein Homologue 2a and 2b in determining alternative erythrocyte invasion pathways. Campino S, Marin-Menéndez A, Kemp A, Cross N, Drought L, Otto TD, Diez Benavente E, Ravenhall M, Schwach F, Girling G, Manske M, Theron M, Gould K, Drury E, Clark TG, Kwiatkowski DP, Pance A, Rayner JC. PLoS Pathog 2018 14(11): e1007436

    Antimicrobial Nanoplexes meet Model Bacterial Membranes: the key role of Cardiolipin. Marín-Menéndez A, Montis C, Díaz-Calvo T, Carta D, Hatzixanthis K et al. Scientific reports 2017;7;41242

    Rosetting in Plasmodium vivax: a cytoadhesion phenotype associated with anaemia. Marín-Menéndez A, Bardají A, Martínez-Espinosa FE, Bôtto-Menezes C, Lacerda MV et al. PLoS neglected tropical diseases 2013;7;4;e2155

    A family of cyclophilin-like molecular chaperones in Plasmodium falciparum. Marín-Menéndez A, Monaghan P and Bell A. Molecular and biochemical parasitology 2012;184;1;44-7

    Overexpression, purification and assessment of cyclosporin binding of a family of cyclophilins and cyclophilin-like proteins of the human malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Marín-Menéndez A and Bell A. Protein expression and purification 2011;78;2;225-34

    Susceptibility of Plasmodium falciparum to glutamate dehydrogenase inhibitors--a possible new antimalarial target. Aparicio IM, Marín-Menéndez A, Bell A and Engel PC. Molecular and biochemical parasitology 2010;172;2;152-5