Daniel Kiboi of the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya will assess whether a novel mutation in the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, can be used as a marker to identify drug-resistant malaria and protect key antimalarial drugs. Emerging P. falciparum variants resistant to the three frontline drugs kill millions of people annually but are hard to detect. A better understanding of how these variants resist the actions of existing drugs can help to develop more effective drugs. They previously used a mouse malaria model to produce Plasmodium parasites resistant to all three main drugs and identified the candidate mutated protein likely causing this resistance. They will use in silico bioinformatics analysis, CRISPR/Cas9 approaches, and in vitro drug susceptibility assays to evaluate and validate this mutant protein and determine its role in drug resistance in the human malaria parasite.
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