Leishmaniasis is one of the NTDs, affecting over 1 billion people across 90 countries in the world. Caused by sand fly borne kinetoplastid protozoan parasites with infection leading to a wide spectrum of diseases, including cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) to more fatal visceral leishmaniasis (VL).1 The global burden of VL has decreased in the past decade thanks to the collaborative elimination efforts driven by the United Nation, World Health Organisation, governments, charities and medicine manufacturers. However, in the same period, CL cases have increased dramatically (0.7 – 1.0 million per year) largely due to forced migration in conflict zones and lack of standard healthcare facility. Vaccines are absent and drug therapy is limited. The current treatment of CL is still relied on 70 years old medicines such as sodium stibogluconate and meglumine antimoniate, despite their severe side-effects, high cost (parenteral administration), and the increased drug resistance.2,3
Over the last few years, we have established a novel integrated approach for the development and screen of new drug candidates and their suitable nanoformulations. In this highly interdisciplinary project, you will be working with the team at Queen’s University Belfast and Prof Paul Denny at Durham University with the aim to discover and develop new therapy for the treatment of Leishmaniasis.
Studentship 1: design, characterisation and optimisation of the novel nanoformulations
Studentship 2: in vitro and ex-vivo evaluations on novel nanoformulations for antileishmanial activities.