FIRST COMSTECH-NTD Network Webinar: CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing of Leishmania and Drug Target Validation

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Category: Capacity building, Connections, Network Events, Outreach

25 June, 2021
CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing of Leishmania and Drug Target Validation
Professor Jeremy Mottram: University of York, UK
Parasitic disease of humans and livestock remains a worldwide problem. Leishmaniasis impacts both health and economics and drains resources that could be used to promote development. Improving control of this disease would have profound benefits for human health, aid in wealth creation, and enhance quality of life.  With no vaccine currently available for use in humans, chemotherapy remains the primary method of intervention, however current drugs are inadequate. New drugs are needed and whilst several promising candidates are in early phase clinical trials, gaining deeper insights into Leishmania biology is crucial for supporting drug discovery efforts.
Leishmania undergoes a tightly regulated differentiation process, known to be regulated by phosphorylation, transitioning between an extracellular promastigote to an intracellular amastigote. Differentiation requires extensive cellular remodelling to adapt to changing environments and this is enacted by peptidases, including the ubiquitination proteasome system (UPS).
In this presentation I will describe how we have used CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing of Leishmania genes to investigate their function in life cycle progression and establishment of infection.  I will also describe how protein kinases and the UPS system are an important target class for potential new anti-leishmanial drugs.
Jeremy has shared his practical expertise in CRISPR-Cas9 with early career researchers from our Network and beyond.
Our Joint Webinar Programme
NTDs (Neglected Tropical Diseases) are a major health and economic burden in Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states.  The control and elimination of NTDs require a scale-up and integration of global mass treatment programmes, along with new tools and technologies to tackle these diseases.  COMSTECH, in collaboration with A Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (known as the NTD Network,, is offering this virtual lecture series for researchers across the Islamic world and beyond.
Our programme draws upon expertise from both networks and offers opportunities to gain or enhance researcher knowledge, skills and connections, all of which help to grow our shared global capacity to tackle these rapidly growing NTDs.
  • The NTD Network, funded by UKRI’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), is a consortium of academic researchers from South America, Asia, and the UK, seeking new therapeutic solutions to leishmaniasis and Chagas disease
  • Both COMSTECH and the NTD Network aim to promote global scientific cooperation and build researcher capacity to find new and better therapeutic solutions for NTDs
These joint webinars are open to academics, scientists and the general public from all OIC member states.  The content is most relevant to scientists interested in NTDs research and specialising in Microbiology, Genetics, Genomics, Molecular Biology, Molecular Medicine, and Pathology.
For links to all recordings in this series, visit our COMSTECH-NTD Network page: