Supervisor: Dr Shane Wilkinson
Estimates indicate that 8 to 10 million people suffer from Chagas disease, a parasitic infection prevalent in Latin America caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi. With no prospect of a vaccine chemotherapy is of major importance. However, current treatments are unsatisfactory & the development of new drugs is a priority. Previous drug screening programmes carried out at SBCS have identified several, potent anti-parasitic nitro- & quinone-based compounds that show little/no cytotoxicity to mammalian cells. These compounds invariably function as prodrugs & following activation are postulated to mediate their mode of action by promoting DNA damage.
The aim of this PhD project is to build on these findings to:
Additionally, the successful applicant will use tagged intracellular parasite lines for additional drug screening programmes. It is envisaged that by understanding how these bioreductive compounds mediate their anti-parasitic activities will inform the development of new chemical structures that have translational potential.
The successful applicant will receive a comprehensive training in molecular biology & biochemical skills. Instructions in Good Microbiological practice will be given, with emphasis on the culturing & genetic manipulation of containment level 3 pathogen, as well as on mammalian tissue culture work.
Personalised training in writing and communication skills will be provided, complemented with generic transferable skills training from the QMUL Learning Institute.