The Jiggins Lab Webpage

Alex Leitao

Research Interests

I have started my research career by studying the development of immune cells in Drosophila melanogaster. During my PhD, supervised by Elio Sucena, I showed that functional immune cells can change their cell fate by a process of transdifferentiation. This led me to wonder about the functions and evolution of immune cells. For this reason, I moved to the laboratory of Francis Jiggins, where I was awarded an EMBO postdoctoral fellowship to study how the evolution for parasite resistance changes immune cell composition.


Alexandre B. Leitao*, Arunkumar R*, Day JP, Geldman EM, Jiggins FM. Constitutive activation of cellular immunity underlies the evolution of resistance to infection. bioRxiv. 2020; doi:

Leitao AB, Bian X, Day JP, Pitton S, Demir E, Jiggins FM. Independent effects on cellular and humoral immune responses underlie genotype-by-genotype interactions between Drosophila and parasitoids. PLoS Pathog. 2019;15: 1-13. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1008084

Leitao AB, Sucena E. Drosophila sessile hemocyte clusters are true hematopoietic tissues that regulate larval blood cell differentiation. Elife. 2015;2015: 1-38. doi:10.7554/eLife.06166