Research interests

The research focus of the Experimental Parasitology group (Department of Medical Microbiology) at the Academic Medical Centre led by Dr. Henk Schallig is on the development, evaluation and implementation of innovative diagnostic tools and strategies for parasitic diseases. Translating high-tech diagnostics towards more field applicable and near patient tools is a top priority of the group. We also study emerging drug resistance, perform drug efficacy studies and lead compound identification. The main diseases we presently focus on are malaria, leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis and cryptosporidiosis, but in principle we can cover all aspects of parasitology and parasites. Of particular attention is mother and child health (for example malaria in pregnancy). Currently we are expanding our research focus towards the etiology, diagnosis and treatment of undifferentiated fevers, which are emerging as a consequence of declining malaria prevalence. In this field we also work towards the containment of emerging drug resistance that is caused by over prescription of antibiotics and anti-malarials due to inappropriate diagnostic procedures.

The research activities are done in close collaboration with departments within the AMC (Clinical Parasitology, Tropical Medicine, Tropical Dermatology and the Global Child health Group) and in disease endemic countries, such as Burkina Faso, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, The Gambia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, Ecuador and Suriname.

Next to this we are also heavily involved in capacity building activities in particular in resource limited countries in sub-Sahara Africa and Latin America. We are supervising PhD and MSc students from these counties, provide on the spot training in research technologies and methodology. We also ensure that the work is conducted to GC/LP standards.

Our main research lines are:

- Development, evaluation and implementation of novel diagnostics for parasitic diseases.
- Malaria in pregnancy: detection, treatment, and biomarkers.
- Clinical trials to improve treatment and diagnosis of parasitic diseases.
- Community centered approaches to improve (maternal) health.

- Drug efficacy and resistance studies and lead compound identification for new drugs
- Diagnostic development for fever syndromes to stop antimicrobial drug resistance



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