A passion for parasites

Paul T. Englund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


I knew nothing and had thought nothing about parasites until 1971. In fact, if you had asked me before then, I might have commented that parasites were rather disgusting. I had been at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine for three years, and I was on the lookout for a new project. In 1971, I came across a paper in the Journal of Molecular Biology by Larry Simpson, a classmate of mine in graduate school. Larry's paper described a remarkable DNA structure known as kinetoplast DNA (kDNA), isolated from a parasite. kDNA, the mitochondrial genome of trypanosomatids, is a DNA network composed of several thousand interlocked DNA rings. Almost nothing was known about it. I was looking for a project on DNA replication, and I want edit to be both challenging and important. I had no doubt that working with kDNA would be a challenge, as I would be exploring uncharted territory. I was also sure that the project would be important when I learned that parasites with kDNA threaten huge populations in underdeveloped tropical countries. Looking again at Larry's paper, I found the electron micrographs of the kDNA networks to be rather beautiful. I decided to take a chance on kDNA. Little did I know then that I would devote the next forty years of my life to studying kDNA replication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33712-33729
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 5 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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