Varsha Mathur

Varsha is an EMBO Postdoctoral Fellow interested in understanding how parasitism evolves in eukaryotes. In 2021, Varsha completed a PhD at University of British Columbia where she studied the phylogeny and evolution of apicomplexan parasites using single-cell transcriptomics. Her research interests involve using phylogenomics and comparative genomics to study extreme reductive evolution in the organelles (mitochondria and plastids) of parasites.

During her postdoctoral research at Oxford, she aims to examine diverse parasitic groups, such as the Pirsoniales and Perkinsea, to gain insights into how parasites evolve from free-living ancestors using long-read genome sequencing, microscopy, and experimental approaches.

She is also broadly interested in protistology, marine ecosystems, and birds. Outside of research, she enjoys travelling, exploring nature, eating spicy food, doing yoga, and spending time with her friends, family, and dogs.

Selected Publications

  • Mathur V*, Wakeman KC, Keeling PJ. Parallel functional reduction in the mitochondria of apicomplexan parasites. Current Biology. 31: 2920-2928.e4. (2021)
  • Mathur V*, Kwong WK, Husnik F, et al. Phylogenomics identifies a new major subgroup of apicomplexans, Marosporida class nov., with extreme apicoplast genome reduction. Genome Biology & Evolution. 13 (2021)
  • Keeling PJ, Mathur V*, Kwong WK. Corallicolids: The elusive coral-infecting apicomplexans. PLoS Pathogens. 17(9): e1009845 (2021)
  • Mathur V*, Kolisko M, Hehenberger E, Irwin NAT, Leander BS, Kristmundsson A, Freeman MA, Keeling PJ. Multiple independent origins of apicomplexan-like parasites. Current Biology. 29, 2936-2941.e5 (2019)
  • Kwong WK, del Campo J, Mathur V*, Vermeij MJ, Keeling PJ. A widespread coral-infecting apicomplexan with chlorophyll biosynthesis genes. Nature. 568, 103–107 (2019)
  • Mathur V*, del Campo J, Kolisko M, Keeling PJ. Global diversity and distribution of close relatives of apicomplexan parasites. Environmental Microbiology. 20, 2824–2833 (2018)