Control and Prevention of S. mansoni transmission to Humans

Theme: Natural & Biological Hazards

Primary Supervisor:

Edwin Routledge

Institute of Environment, Health and Societies, Brunel

Edwin Routledge's Profile Picture

Secondary Supervisor:

Aidan Emery

Life Sciences Department, NHM

Aidan Emery's Profile Picture

Project Description:

The parasitic disease Schistosomiasis affects 243 million people worldwide. Having hatched from human urine or faeces contaminating water-bodies, the parasite must seek and infect a compatible water snail before developing further to infect humans. Through a Bill and Melinda Gates “Grand Challenges” award, we have been investigating chemicals produced by snails that attract schistosomes with a view to develop a synthetic decoy that lures them away from live snails and kill the parasite. The group at Brunel that is working on the attractants and the SCAN team at the Natural History Museum want to strengthen research collaboration in this area. Our ideas include:
Investigating the genes and synthetic pathways of snail schistosome attractants using genomics;
Characterising the molecular structure of the parasite attractant (a challenge that has eluded scientists for over 40 years)
Develop new environmentally friendly intervention strategies to help combat this important neglected tropical disease.

Policy Impact of Research:

A greater understanding of the mechanisms of disease spread (including the role of the intermediate snail host) is an important part of the toolkit of preventative measures needed to control S. mansoni.

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