Pathways to parasite dissemination in visceral leishmaniasis


  • Prof Paul Kaye

    University of York, United Kingdom

Project summary

Visceral leishmaniasis is a severe systemic parasitic disease caused by single-celled parasites (Leishmania) that live inside a subset of white blood cells (phagocytes).  50,000-90,000 new cases occur p.a., leading to ~20,000 deaths.  After treatment, many patients develop a chronic stigmatising skin condition and continue to transmit the disease in the community.  To develop more effective treatments, we need to understand how parasites spread in the body following infection and how this is affected by drug treatment.  We will answer these questions by: i) analysing human and rodent tissues using advanced imaging equipment that can identify changes in immune and metabolic pathways at the level of the single infected cell; ii) following parasite population dynamics in rodent models of disease and iii) using novel disease and mathematical models. This research will provide new fundamental knowledge about diseases caused by Leishmania and help identify new ways to reduce the burden of disease.