The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) has been chosen by the European Commission (EC) to coordinate two European health research projects, as part of the second call of the VII Framework Programme. This concession makes IRB Barcelona a leader in European projects in Spain, together with the Spanish National Research Council. In all, Spanish centres will be heading ten projects. The EC will grant IRB Barcelona funding of more than 5 million euros from 2009 to 2011. Malaria and diabetes will be the topics addressed by the consortia headed by the researchers Llus Ribas de Pouplana and Antonio Zorzano.
DISARMING THE PARASITE THAT CAUSES MALARIA
The consortium coordinated by Llus Ribas de Pouplana, ICREA researcher and head of the Gene Translation Laboratory at IRB Barcelona, will explore a promising line of investigation to find new anti-malarial compounds. The project, called Mephitis, is included in the call "Projects for diseases of the Third World in collaboration with laboratories in India". Malaria is caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which is carried by some female Anopheles mosquitoes. Infection is via a mosquito bite, which introduces the parasite into our bodies, where it attacks red blood cells. At present, between 300 and 500 million infections are reported worldwide each year and more than a million people die from malaria every year, mainly children in Africa and Asia.
The project seeks to elucidate the formation of proteins in the parasite that are involved the transmission of malaria, with the aim to identify the key components that inhibit this process and allow the development of anti-malarial drugs. The rationale behind Ribas de Pouplana's project is that "we now have enough knowledge about protein synthesis in organisms such as the bacteria E.coli or the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and we now want to transfer this knowledge base to organisms of medical relevance such as Plasmo
|Contact: Snia Armengou|
Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)