Manuel Llinás awarded a Grand Challenges Exploration Grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Manuel Llinás, an associate professor in BMB and the Huck Institutes has been awarded two years of Phase II funding for a Grand Challenges Exploration Grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This research will use mass spectrometry-based metabolomics to profile the metabolic effects of hundreds of anti-malarial compounds against Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites. The goal of this work is to define next-generation antimalarials to be used in malaria endemic regions to stave of the hundreds of millions of annual cases of malaria worldwide. The Llinás lab has already demonstrated that drugs that target the parasite's metabolic network produce characteristic responses related to their mode of action. By metabolic signature profiling they aim to directly capture the effect that individual compounds have on the cellular metabolism of malaria parasites. The results of this work have direct relevance as they serve to enhance ongoing efforts toward the prioritization and optimization of novel anti-malarial drugs by identifying the mode of action (MOA) of candidate anti-malarial compounds and defining the relevant target biochemical pathways that are perturbed in the malaria parasite.