Published November 8, 2012
K. Read, PhD, professor of microbiology and
immunology, has won a four-year, $1.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to
study the mechanisms and regulation of RNA editing
in the parasite responsible for African sleeping
The study, funded through the National
Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, seeks to
understand the molecular mechanisms of uridine insertion/deletion
RNA editing in the kinetoplastid parasite Trypanosoma brucei.
This process, unique to T. brucei, does not occur in its human
hosts, making it a promising target for the development of new
chemotherapeutic agents, Read explains.
Read’s research may facilitate drug development and further treatment of diseases caused by kinetoplastid parasites, including African sleeping sickness, an illness endemic to sub-Saharan Africa that is fatal if left untreated.
Existing treatments are “antiquated, expensive, difficult to administer and, often, highly toxic,” Read says. What’s more, the parasite is developing resistance to the drugs, she adds.