Category: Connections

Durham-FAPESP SPRINT colleagues

Seeing further: A Brazil-UK collaboration to shine light on the mysteries of parasite cell membranes

“If I have seen further, it has been through standing on the shoulders of giants” (John of Salisbury, 1159).
NTD Network partners and colleagues from Durham, UK and universities from across Sao Paulo state in Brazil gathered this week at Durham University to launch an inter-institutional sister collaboration, investigating transmembrane proteins from neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and other infectious agents.  The FAPESP-SPRINT initiative project is a joint venture between the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Brazil’s Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP).  Membrane proteins hold huge potential as drug targets, yet are poorly understood, this ‘invisibility’ due to the technical challenges of working with these often insoluble proteins.  This collaboration, between Durham University, the University of São Paulo (USP) and the Brazilian Biosciences National Laboratory (LNBio), combines the cross-disciplinary expertise from all three institutions.  The team plan to develop a suite of tools for characterising the membranes of living cells, equipping us to ‘see further’ in our search for new drug targets for Chagas disease, leishmaniasis and other NTDs.

 

Making plans for making friends: Pakistan HUB members visit the UK

Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is endemic across most of the Middle East, and is currently expanding into new areas.  This August, CL specialists Professor Iqbal Choudhary (Pakistan HUB leader) and Dr Sammer Yousuf, from the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi, journeyed to connect with colleagues from the Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Durham and York.  Their visit consolidated plans for a training workshop, “New Anti-leishmanial Leads from Natural Sources: Concepts and Approaches” at the ICCBS on 8th-9th November, following the “7th annual Symposium on Molecular Medicine and Drug Research” at the University of Karachi, 4th-7th November.  The NTD Network is collaborating with the University of Karachi to support early career researchers (ECRs) from Middle Eastern countries to attend both events.  

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