Category: Infrastructure support

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.

 

Amplifying the possibilities: Long awaited new PCR equipment arrives in Karachi

After a long wait, a piece of vital equipment, the “CFX96 Touch™ Real-Time PCR Detection System”, co-funded by the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and the University of Karachi, has now arrived at the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS).  The machine (a white box with screen – visible in the right of the picture) now enables Network members Iqbal Choudhary, Sammer Yousuf and the Karachi team to use the polymerase chain reaction technique (PCR) DNA amplifying technology to identify genetic variations between strains of Leishmania parasites, causing leishmaniasis.  This purchase is also a behind-the-scenes administrative triumph for international collaboration, highlighting some of the bureaucratic difficulties we navigate with our NTD Network colleagues in developing countries.
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One small box, two big smiles: New equipment for Chagas disease research arrives in Rosario

February 20th, 2019, and Dr Julia Cricco (right) gathers her research team at the National University of Rosario (UNR), Argentina, to greet the new arrival; a small, grey box…  This unremarkable-looking machine is a ‘Nucleofector’ from Lonza, purchased with Equipment Fund support from the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).  This device will transform the speed at which Julia’s group can progress towards identifying valid biological targets for developing new drugs against Chagas disease.  The arrival of this one small box is therefore much celebrated, provoking excitement and big smiles all round!

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