On a quiet day before the start of the UK University term, the UK-based members of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) left their desks in York and Durham Universities, for the wilds of North Yorkshire. The cosy hospitality of the locally renowned Charles Bathurst Inn (Arkengarthdale) was a warm contrast to the wild weather that swept down the valley during our meeting! This event provided a perfectly timed opportunity to review the year and think ahead, sharing ideas and insights.
“This training provided me with input which I didn’t know I needed, but has changed everything!”
“These four days have been a real turning point!”
These remarks, from Jaime Isern and Victor De Sousa-Agostino, were the first responses I heard from our two PhD students from Durham University, upon their return from the NTD Network’s medicinal chemistry training workshop, held in Medoza city, Argentina, 2nd-4th November 2019.
This November, our student training workshop “New anti-leishmanial leads from natural sources”, hosted at the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi, brought together an international team of staff and 30 early career researchers from south Asia and across the Middle East.
For Dr Paul Denny and myself, the visit included a meeting with Dr Bahram Khoso and his clinical team at Jinnah hospital, Karachi; here, the human reasons behind our pre-clinical research became clear, and very real. Before us stood four children, siblings; each face disfigured by cutaneous leishmaniasis.
The latest NTD Network training workshop, ‘New Anti-leishmanial leads from Natural Sources: Concepts and Approaches’, went live today!
This workshop provides practical training for PhD students, post-docs and faculty members in basic concepts and modern applications to find new anti-leishmanials using natural sources, and is held at the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi, Pakistan.
Pharmaceuticals industry representatives, NTD Network members and associated colleagues are now on their way to Mendoza, Argentina, to deliver an early career researcher (ECR) training workshop in medicinal chemistry skills, held 2nd-4th November, 2019. This three-day training, “Workshop in techniques and technologies in drug discovery”, will provide ECRs from neglected disease-endemic countries throughout South America with skills in medicinal chemistry and the drug discovery process. The final session of the workshop is an open symposium of drug discovery case studies, delivered by representatives from Novartis, GSK and DNDi. This symposium is free to attend: industry symposium flyer.
Members of the NTD Network from three continents gathered this month in Uruguay, for our first AGM, held 31st March to 2nd April 2019 and hosted at Institut Pasteur, Montevideo by our institutional lead, Professor Carlos Robello. We had expected that the visit provided us with a chance to review our progress, catch up with the research projects now underway across the Asian, South American and UK HUBS, and also to discuss our strategic way forward, to gain the most we can from this phase of our project (2018-2021). But Carlos and his team also had other surprises in store!
This March, 2019, a diverse group of 28 students gathered at Kolkata’s Indian Institute for Chemical Biology, for a workshop providing practical skills in genetic manipulation of Leishmania parasites using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. These new skills will transform their careers, and in time may improve the lives of people affected by leishmaniasis, a global problem which poses a risk to the lives of millions of people in India and Pakistan alone.
The 5-hour road trip from Sao Paulo to the Brazilian Society for Protozoology (SBPz) annual meeting 2018, held in Caxambu, Minas Gerais, through spectacular mountains, traces a route towards the beginnings of what is now the NTD Network. Dr Paul Denny (Durham University) was first invited here some 10 years ago, as part of an SBPz initiative to gather an international line up of speakers at their annual meeting. This sparked a long-term association, initially between representatives from SBPz and the Borishi Society for Parasitology (BS). This year, Paul and other Network members from the UK NTD Network joined our partners from South America and others from the UK for a HUB meeting held during the SBPz conference at Cazambu, followed by a satellite mini-symposium, organised and hosted by Professor Ariel Silber (our South American HUB lead), at the University of Sao Paulo.
Resercher training in Rio: Using CRISPR to illuminate new solutions for two old, ‘invisible’ diseases