Drug targets and compounds that block growth of malaria parasites

Drug targets and compounds that block growth of malaria parasites

Project details

Malaria is a major disease killing more than 500,000 people yearly. This project aims to identify drug-like inhibitors that kill malaria parasites to develop novel antimalarial drugs.

We have identified drug-like compounds blocking growth of P. falciparum. We will identify targets by selecting resistance and using next generation sequencing and bioinformatics to identify mutations. The mutations will be engineered into parasites to prove they are responsible for drug resistance. The compounds and target will be further developed to identify more efficient inhibitors.

The project involves P. falciparum culturing, drug selection, next generation sequencing and genome editing using CRISPR technology. As protein targets are identified recombinant protein will be expressed for further functional analysis of the target. 

About our research group

We are interested in identifying and characterising the function and structure of potential drug targets and using this knowledge to develop novel antimalarials.

We use CRISPR genome editing technology for efficient and specific parasite molecular genetics to make parasite lines with specific gene knockouts and also florescent protein tags. We perform experiments to define the loss-of-function phenotypes as well as live imaging and super-resolution microscopy to define the function of these proteins. Additionally, we express the parasite proteins in insect and E. coli cells to enable biochemical characterisation and structural analysis.

Our laboratories are made up of a mixture of postdoctoral fellows and PhD students providing opportunities for close supervision and assistance as well as working in a team environment.

Further reading: Hodder et al., Nature Struct Mol Biol 2015 22 :590


Professor Alan Cowman

Alan Cowman standing in a laboratory
Laboratory Head; Deputy Director, Science Strategy

Dr Brad Sleebs

Dr Brad Sleebs
Laboratory Head
Dr Tony Hodder profile shot
Infectious Diseases and Immune Defence division

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