Mike Blackman is a group leader in the Division of Parasitology. He was born in Stockport near Manchester, and obtained a BSc in Microbiology from the University of Leeds in 1981. He went on to work on interferon gamma in Alan Morris' group at the University of Warwick, where he obtained an MSc by research in 1985. Later that same year he took up a post as a research officer in the Medical Research Council (MRC)'s unit in The Gambia, West Africa, where he worked on production of human monoclonal antibodies and the role of antibodies in protection against malaria. It was here that he developed his interest in malaria and, in particular, the mechanistic basis of host cell invasion by the malaria parasite.
Mike returned to the UK in 1988 to study for a PhD in Tony Holder's lab at the MRC's National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR; now part of the Francis Crick Institute). Following this he stayed at NIMR, taking up a career track appointment and then being awarded tenure in 2000. He also holds a position as Professor of Molecular Microbiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
His research interests focus on egress and host cell invasion by the malaria parasite and other apicomplexan parasites, with a particular focus on the proteolytic and kinase-mediated pathways that control these steps in the parasite lifecycle. Research in his lab makes extensive use of biochemical techniques and cell biology, with much use of heterologous expression systems and genetic modification by transfection of the human malaria parasites P. falciparum and P. knowlesi.