Drug target identification in the malaria parasite
There is an urgent need to develop new anti-malarial drugs if the goal of eradicating this global disease is to be realized. Several thousand compounds with potent anti-malarial activity have recently been identified in high throughput chemical screens on parasite-infected red blood cells. The challenge now is to identify the targets of these compounds in order to prioritize further development and assist with lead optimization. Advanced mass spectrometric metabolite profiling techniques will be used to measure the impact of these lead compounds on the metabolome (the complement of all cellular metabolites) of Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells.
The aims of this project are to:
- broadly categorize the metabolic phenotype induced by compounds identified in these screens
- compare these phenotypes with those induced by current antimalarials
- identify more precisely the mode of action of specific compounds
Students will gain experience in Plasmodium cell culture and a range of state-of-the-art mass spectrometric and bioinformatics techniques.
The project will be undertaken in collaboration with Drs Stuart Ralph and Darren Creek.
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