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Durham University

Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing


Filling the Void in 2017

(3 May 2017)

Now in its third year, the Filling the Void (FtV) Special Interest Group continues to benefit from the vital support of the Wolfson Research Institute, for which we are very grateful.

This has allowed us to continue to host external contributors for a programme of popular seminars focused on pressing issues in infectious disease research. For example, Rik van Veen (Cambridge, June ‘16) discussed the importance of drug pumps in antimicrobial resistance; Loic Couette (Pasteur Lille, January ‘17) emphasized the importance of vaccine development for Hooping Cough; and Jeremy Mottram (York, March ‘17) described his work developing drug target validation technology for the protozoan pathogen, Leishmania – cause of a Neglected Tropical Disease.

In addition, as additional activity, FtV organised and financed a schools outreach exercise embedded within the British Society for Parasitology Autumn Symposium, hosted at Durham in September ‘16. More than 100 local GCSE and A level students (including from areas of low participation in higher education) listened to talks on antimicrobial resistance and global health, and engaged with the Symposium poster session, enjoying conversations with the presenting scientists. A report of this meeting, including the outreach activity, was posted on the BMC BugBitten blog site – Bacteria and protozoa:chemistry and biology discussed.

These activities provide the backdrop for the interdisciplinary, collaborative work being undertaken within FtV. Given the global disease focus of FtV, this research is comfortably aligned with elements of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) initiative: a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK Government to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. Already, under this scheme, a Royal Society International Collaboration Award, Designing and Delivering New Antileishmanials has been secured [led by Patrick Steel (Chemistry) and Bartira Bergmann (UFRJ, Brazil) with Dave Berry (Pharmacy), Paul Denny (Bioscience) and Ehmke Pohl (Bioscience)]. We look forward to reporting other successful outcomes.


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