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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Harnessing Microbial Ecology for Broad-Spectrum Antiparasitic Discovery

Parasitic nematodes infect over two billion humans and are a significant cause of global morbidity. Nematodes are also important and ubiquitous pathogens of companion animals and livestock, causing significant animal sickness and production losses. No successful vaccines have been developed to protect against human nematode infections and the limited number of available antiparasitics are suboptimal. Motivated by emerging drug resistance and the recognized need for new treatment options, this project will leverage microbial natural products to discover next-generation antiparasitics.

The project team hypothesizes that longstanding inter-kingdom interactions have guided the evolutionary selection of microbial small molecules with antiparasitic properties. They propose a systematic effort to pursue this hypothesis by combining recent advances in parasitology, microbial ecology, natural product chemistry and model organism biology. The project is expected to deliver novel microbially derived small molecules that exhibit potent and broad-spectrum antiparasitic activity of medical and veterinary relevance.



Mostafa Zamanian, assistant professor of pathobiological sciences



Tim Bugni, professor of pharmaceutical sciences



David Andes, professor of medicine and medical microbiology and immunology

Cameron Currie, professor of bacteriology

Lindsay Kalan, assistant professor of medical microbiology and immunology

Nancy Keller, professor of medical microbiology and immunology