MSE Research Project Database

Metabolic modelling to target host-parasite interactions

Project Leader: Edmund Crampin
Primary Contact: Edmund Crampin (
Keywords: metabolomics; numerical modelling; systems biology
Disciplines: Biomedical Engineering
Research Centre: Systems Biology Laboratory

Leishmania is a parasite that causes a spectrum of devastating human diseases in the tropics and subtropics. The parasite targets macrophages, one of the major cell types in the human body's immune system, where they reside within the lysosome compartment that is normally involved in killing invading pathogens. There is intense interest in understanding how the Leishmania parasite survives in these cells and, in particular with the view of identifying new drug targets and better therapies. One of the key areas of research is understanding how the parasite metabolism interacts with the host cells. We will be building detailed mathematical models of Leishmania metabolism to be able to better predict the consequences of genetically or chemically inhibiting particular enzymes or pathways. We will use data from comprehensive metabolomics experiments being undertaken at Bio21 Institute which measure the rates of different parts of the metabolic network under different conditions using advanced mass spectrometry approaches. This information will then be used to explore key parts of the parasite metabolism in order to understand how the parasite can be targeted pharmacologically without harming the host.

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