Huge thanks to all who joined us last week for our first early career researcher (ECR) online conference! The symposium, held over Thursday 18th and Friday 19th February 2021, connected 0ver 100 delegates from our academic teams, spanning all career stages, nine time zones, and three continents. Crucially, this has been the easiest way to bring together our membership from India, Pakistan, South America, and the UK in one meeting. Taking the hosting software platform to its limits, we scheduled 15 oral presentations over four sessions, interspersed with breakout rooms for 26 poster presentations. One of our speakers commented, “Hope you repeat the experience soon, I am eager to participate again!”. Thanks; yes, we will! … Continue reading
Preparations are in full swing for our first ever early career researchers (ECR) online conference! This event provides opportunities for our ECRs to present their work at a closed meeting and is available for all involved with the NTD Network research programme or a related project. The conference will comprise talks and poster presentations from teams across all HUBs of the Network, held over two days, and spanning 9 time zones!! ***NB this is a closed meeting for NTD Network members only*** Join us to present updates on your work and connect with colleagues from around the world, via talks and poster sessions!
No plans yet for Friday evening? Why not join the party at Looking for Endosymbiotic Love, a live show launching a science-art project, cooked up by NTD Network PhD student and parasitologist Yasmine Kumordzi (Durham University), and performer RJ Lloyd. In this highly creative approach to science outreach, these two friends ‘personify’ a range of complex and neglected infectious diseases as lonely hearts, on the lookout for romance… The project has resulted in a 2021 wall calendar and launch event, to be live-streamed this Friday, 4th December, 7-8pm UK time (free tickets here.) Or if you don’t want to wait, click here for a blast of Yasmine herself, introducing leishmaniasis – her ‘endo’ of choice (i.e. her specialist research area!!). What’s not to love? 🙂
Crystallising a new collaboration: Researchers reveal the structure of Leishmania donovani Rab5a protein
Congratulations to Network members Dr Ashish Arora (CSIR-CDRI, Lucknow, India) and Professor Ehmke Pohl (Durham University, UK) and their teams, on their first joint publication! Ashish and Ehmke met at the Network’s first HUB meeting in India, May 2018, and subsequently began collaborating to solve the crystal structure of the Leishmania donovani RAB5a protein, which is essential for parasite survival in its human host. Their work, funded via a NTD Network ‘Pump Priming’ allocation, establishes new links between their respective research institutions, and has supported the imitation of what Ashish and Ehmke intend as a long and fruitful partnership; one which could, in time, enable discovery of a new ‘druggable’ therapeutic target against visceral forms of leishmaniasis, a potentially lethal neglected tropical disease (NTD).
This May saw the launch of a new themed collection of articles from the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal, RSC Medicinal Chemistry, bringing together scientific breakthroughs and incisive insights from global experts seeking new routes to therapeutic solutions for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). This themed collection, entitled “Neglected Tropical Diseases” and edited by NTD Network members Dr Charles Mowbray (DNDi), Professor Nahid Ali (IICB Kolkata) and Dr Steven Cobb (Durham University), currently includes 15 articles. Read their editorial introduction to this collection here.
Three of these papers are co-authored by our own Network researchers, although all of them highlight, by example, our vital need for cross-disciplinary, multi-institutional approaches and long-term collaborations in order to make new progress against the old challenge of NTDs, which together threaten the lives of over a billion people worldwide. First of the reserch papers is a review co-authored by one of our NTD Network Fellows, Dr. Kalesh Karunakaran (Durham University, UK).
With COVID-19 curtailing everyone’s movements worldwide, our Network members are now meeting online! Our seminar series launched last week, and will run through the rest of this year, with talks scheduled from our Network HUB leads and Network Fellows. Please note these seminars are closed meetings, for our current NTD Network members and their teams, plus our international advisory panel – if this includes you, there will be email updates ahead of each meeting, with instructions on how to join the meetings. Click ‘more’ for the timetable and speakers schedule. We hope to see you soon! … Continue reading
Our huge thanks to Professor Ariel Silber, from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the head of our South American HUB, who opened our online research seminar series today, introduced by Network Fellow Dr. Brian Mantilla and also to the 65 attendees who joined us! This is the first of a series of talks providing our NTD Network partners with a route to share findings and discuss ideas, in the absence of face-to-face research updates at our AGM this year. The seminars will take place on the first and third Wednesdays of each month, and are open to our NTD Network partners, their teams, and our international advisory panel members. Check our blog page for an updated list of our seminar schedule and speakers for 2020!
“All that was needed was shrewd questioning… to conclude once again that the symptoms of love were the same as those of cholera.”
This quote is from the novel ‘Love in a time of Cholera’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (‘Gabo’ to our South American colleagues), set during the sixth cholera pandemic of 1899-1923. I began reading it in January, alongside the emerging research literature on COVID-19, whilst representing our Network and the Durham Centre for Global infectious Diseases though over 30 interviews to UK local, national and international radio and TV, discussing the biology and disease epidemiology of coronaviruses. This juxtaposition has caused me to think a lot about pandemics and has brought to my awareness some surprising similarities between cholera and COVID-19. Let me explain.