Dr. Chairat Uthaipibull, researcher from BIOTEC’s Protein-Ligand Engineering and Molecular Biology Laboratory was awarded the Career Development Grant (CDG) on Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics Research from the Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Disease of the World Health Organization (WHO/TDR). The funding of approximately US$90,000 will enable Chairat and his team to carry out research on “Development of Plasmodium Surrogate Models for Anti-folate Screening Against P. Falciparum and P. Vivax DHFR-TS” for the next three years.
In his project, Chairat will use transfection technology to create novel chimeric Plasmodium parasite models for evaluation of anti-folate compounds against dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase (DHFR-TS) from Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. The dhfr-ts gene in P. falciparum (as in vitro model) will be replaced with the homologous gene from P. vivax, while the dhfr-ts gene in P. berghei (as in vivo model) will be replaced with the homologous genes from P. vivax or P. falciparum. The transgenic parasites will be monitored for their stability and validated as models for use in anti-folate screening against P. vivax parasites (in both in vitro and in vivo models) and against P. falciparum parasites (in in vivo model). This project also provides a strong platform for training, collaboration and technology transfer between South-South laboratories since collaboration with University of Ibadan, Nigeria is planned.
The CDG program is designed to foster novel applications of bioinformatics tools and functional genomics in DECs and to establish a new cadre of young scientists working in collaboration and networks. Grant recipients are expected to develop their research in association with the TDR-supported Regional Training Centres in an effort to expand the critical mass in this field. For more information about The Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Disease (TDR), please visit official website at http://www.who.int/tdr/