MIPS researcher awarded fellowship to enhance anti-parasitic drug discovery

Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences’ (MIPS) Dr Darren Creek has been awarded a NHMRC R.D. Wright Biomedical Career Development Fellowship. The Fellowship will support his work to improve our understanding of how current antimalarial drugs work and identify new ways drugs can kill malaria parasites. The Fellowship is valued at $476,728 over four years.

Tropical diseases, such as malaria, infect millions of people each year. Few safe and effective drugs are available and resistance is emerging to current treatments.

Despite historical under-investment in research for tropical infectious diseases, there have been significant advances in recent years. Unfortunately, the mechanisms of action that make many newly identified compounds work are not yet fully understood and this limits their ability to be developed into medicines. This lack of understanding also increases the risks of toxicity, poor efficacy and emergence of resistance.

Dr Creek uses advanced metabolomics and systems pharmacology approaches to investigate Human African Trypanosomiasis (caused by the Trypanosoma brucei parasite) and Malaria (Plasmodium falciparum). Metabolomics is the study of unique chemical fingerprints that specific cellular processes leave behind. His work improves understanding of metabolic networks and mechanisms of drug action. This information may then be used to facilitate the discovery and development of new medicines for infectious diseases. The rapid growth of systems biology tools offers new opportunities to investigate mechanisms of drug action and monitor drug efficacy and resistance in both pre-clinical and clinical settings.

You can follow the Creek Laboratory on Twitter @CreekLab