Drug-Resistant Malaria

Posted by on Aug 12 2008 | Group projects

Correlation between Gene Mutation and Drug Resistance in Plasmodium

Module Developers: Kathy Dobins (Mathematics), Rufus Ranatunga (Chemistry), and Safawo Gullo (Biology)

Introduction

Malaria is an acute infection caused by several species of Plasmodium that is transmitted by the female species of mosquito, anopheles culex.  Malaria is characterized by high fever and sweating. If not treated early, it can be fatal. Lack of controlled usage of antimalarial drugs such as quinine and chloroquine has resulted in the development of the drug-resistant strains of Plasmodium. According to Centers for Disease control, about 1,337 cases of malaria were reported in 2002, of which 8 deaths were reported. Worldwide, 350-500 million case of malaria is reported every year in the tropics – Africa, Asia, Middle East, Central and South America. In sub-Saharan Africa alone more than a million people die of malaria per year.

The purpose of this study is to establish the correlation between gene mutation and drug resistance in Plamodium. Chemistry, mathematics, and biology students will participate in this research for a period of three years.

Problem

Certain strains of Plasmodium are resistant to antimalarial drugs such as chloroquine and quinine.

Questions:

1)  Identify of mutations sites in Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, and other strains drug resistant strains 

2)  What is the correlation between mutations site and drug resistance?


Web Resources:

1) Genebank will be used to search for the sequences of the proteins of interest  in the study

2)  Use Swiss SDB Viewer to analyze the structures of target proteins

3) Workbench program will be used to identify gene mutation sites

Assessment:

A web site will be developed to made study data available to current and future research participants.

To document progress, students will prepare poster presentations at the end of each semester. At the end of the study period (third year), research data will be published in a scientific journal.

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