Category: Network Events

Connecting with the challenge of leishmaniasis

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.

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Early career researcher skills training in Karachi, Pakistan

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.

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Industrial partners commit to join the medicinal chemistry training team in Mendoza, Argentina

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.   

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Extending our capacity: Bringing CRISPR technology to parasitologists in Asia

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.

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Resercher training in Rio: Using CRISPR to illuminate new solutions for two old, ‘invisible’ diseases

July, 2018; and as the cool of evening descends over Rio de Janeiro, 22 young researchers from South America and the UK gather, excited and a little nervous, to meet each other and their tutors for the next 5 days.  The teaching team of 9 international experts are here to provide training in use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology in trypanosomes (Tryps), the parasites that cause the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis) and leishmaniasis.  The students’ excitement is justified; their new skills will transform their professional lives, and may also be life-changing for many of the ~0.5 billion people worldwide at risk from these infections.1-4 

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First Hub leaders’ meeting: Navigating the maze of neglected tropical diseases

It is a hot May afternoon in Lucknow; members of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) take a break from the first ‘Hub leader’s meeting’, escaping the heat and throat-catching pollution to the tranquil gardens of the Bara Imambara (‘Court of the Imam’) and its famous maze, Bhul Bhulaiya.[1]  The Network’s aim is to find targets for new drugs to treat two NTDs, Chagas disease and leishmaniasis The venue today seems apt; not only are these infections a vast biological puzzle, but also, behind the scenes, the Network’s 14 institutions are currently negotiating a maze of bureaucratic red tape to ratify the necessary legal requirements which will allow them to commence their international programme of collaborative work. 

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A Burns night inauguration for the team to tame the ‘tim’rous beasties’ of Chagas disease and leishmaniasis

Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie, 
O, what panic’s in thy breastie!
It is evening, 25th January 2018; following dinner, Professor Mitali Chatterjee from the Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Kolkata, faces the room and begins to recite Robert Burns’ famous poem ‘To a mouse’, carefully articulating the old Scots in her lilting Indian accent.  The audience, members of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), have gathered in honour of a specific kind of ‘tim’rous beastie’, the parasites causing two NTDs, Chagas disease and leishmaniasis.  Following Mitali, Professor Claudio Pereira (from the University of Buenos Aires), and Dr Julia Cricco (from the National University of Rosario) deliver further selected stanzas in rhythmical, Latino voices.  Finally, Professor Simon Croft (from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) translates the poem with an unexpected twist – using the language of modern parasitology.  The room shifts through amused attention to laughter and applause.

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