University of Cheikh Anta Diop/Hôpital Aristide Le Dantec, Senegal
Malaria, genetic diversity, immunity, host-pathogen dynamics
University of Cheikh Anta Diop/Hôpital Aristide Le Dantec (UCAD/Le Dantec)
The team at UCAD/Le Dantec has significant experience in designing and testing malaria diagnostics and conducting drug resistance studies. The laboratory serves as a Reference Laboratory on Parasite Disease Diagnostics particularly for malaria in Senegal, as part of a partnership between USAID/CDC PMI, UCAD and the Ministry of Health. The many strengths of the team include experience carrying out antimalarial drug resistance projects such as drug treatment efficacy studies, ex vivo assay development and validation, and design of new research techniques to characterize genetic diversity of parasites and both known and novel drug resistance markers. The group has contributed to designing new tools to enhance molecular malaria research in the field.Professor Daouda Ndiaye, the site Principal Investigator, was recently part of the WHO committee that conducted the evaluation for China’s application to be certified as “malaria free.”
Additionally, the lab is a Regional Training Center for the International Center for Excellence in Malaria Research – West Africa (ICEMR-WAF), where scientists from Senegal, Mali, and The Gambia frequently train. Training is cornerstone of the team and multiple training initiatives have been funded through Fogarty, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the African Center of Excellence for Genomics on Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) in collaboration with Harvard, the CDC and the Broad Institute.
One of the particular areas of expertise of this site lies at the cross section of malaria, epidemiology and ecology. There is great infrastructure and expertise at Le Dantec Hospital in molecular diagnostic, genetic, genomic, and immunological techniques needed to understand the host-parasite interactions that determine immunity and transmission, and more specifically, how parasite diversity affects the parasite persistence in Senegal. As the National Reference Center for Genomics in Infectious Diseases, the lab helps to implement genomic research and surveillance systems for viruses, parasites, and other emerging pathogens. These programs are currently implemented in collaboration with the Senegal Ministry of Health (nationwide surveillance efforts focused on malaria), ACEGID , H3 Africa, USAID/PREDICT, and the CDC Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). The team leader is the General Secretary of the African Center of Excellence for the Health of Women and Child, based at UCAD, and has a long history of training Masters, Pharmacy, and PhD students in Africa.
The research conducted at UCAD/Le Dantec advances the local public health needs in trying to ensure that all have access to effective malaria prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. The collaborative research of the team fills a critical need by communicating research findings to the Ministry of Health to enhance the impact of basic research on malaria policy. Potential areas for mentored research include malaria diagnostics, longitudinal studies of immunity, genetic diversity, virulence gene expression and ex vivo phenotypic assays for virulence, drug resistance, and immune neutralization.