The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Manuel Llinás receives grant from Gates Foundation to continue novel study of malaria parasite

Manuel Llinás, a Huck-cofunded researcher and associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State has been awarded two years of Phase II funding for a Grand Challenges Exploration Grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Llinás's research will use mass spectrometry-based metabolomics to profile the metabolic effects of hundreds of anti-malarial compounds against Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites, with the goal of defining next-generation antimalarials to be used in malaria endemic regions to stave off the hundreds of millions of annual cases of malaria worldwide.

The Llinás lab has already demonstrated that drugs targeting the parasite's metabolic network produce characteristic responses related to their mode of action. Through metabolic signature profiling, the Llinás lab aims to directly capture the effect that individual compounds have on the cellular metabolism of malaria parasites. The results of this work will enhance ongoing efforts toward the prioritization and optimization of novel anti-malarial drugs by (a) identifying the mode of action of candidate anti-malarial compounds and (b) defining the relevant target biochemical pathways that are perturbed in the malaria parasite.

Read more about Llinás's research on the Gates Foundation website.