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Department of Chemistry and Life Science : Antimalarial Drug Discovery

Antimalarial drug discovery to characterize protein kinase inhibitors and elicit cell cycle control mechanisms in Plasmodium falciparum
chem_research_malaria02.pngMalaria is a disease caused by an infection of the protozoan parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Approximately one million deaths are attributed to malaria annually and the morbidity and mortality is expected to increase as the parasite develops resistance to every known antimalarial drug in use today. To combat drug resistance, new chemical entities must be pushed through the drug discovery pipeline. Surprisingly, decades of antimalarial drug development has been directed against the parasite in which we have little knowledge on how the parasite grows and dies. Cell cycle control mechanisms governing cell growth, differentiation and death of the parasite are poorly understood and therefore research on the cell cycle mechanisms may identify biochemical and molecular vulnerabilities that are susceptible to chemotherapeutic agents. The aim of this project is to identify and characterize compounds that target the cell cycle machinery of the parasite. Methodologies involved in this project include cell-based growth inhibitory assays, malaria parasite cultivation, enzymatic assays, protein expression and purification, Western Blots, Immunofluorescence and compound selection and acquisition. Research collaborations with the Division of Experimental Therapeutics-Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute support this project. OCONUS AIAD opportunities that may become available from this project include research at the Australian Army Malaria Institute and United State Army Medical Research Institute-Kenya.

 

Point of Contact:
LTC Norman Waters, Ph.D.
Norman.waters@usma.edu
Bartlett Hall Room 400H