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Science colloquium deals with role of mitochondria in malaria parasite

The next Penn State Berks Division of Science Colloquium will feature Dr. Heather Painter, Post-Doctoral Research Associate from the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Carl Ichan Labs at Princeton University, who will give a presentation titled “To Live or Die: Understanding the Role of the Mitochondrion in the Malaria Parasite” on Friday, April 13, 2012, at 1 p.m. in room 5, Luerssen Building. This presentation is free and open to the public and light refreshments will be served.

Plasmodium falciparum is the protozoan parasite that causes the most severe form of malaria, which is still a major cause of death in endemic regions of the world. As a result of widespread drug resistance, combined with the poor socioeconomic conditions of these malaria-affected areas, the disease remains a significant global health challenge. Even though effective anti-malaria chemotherapies such as electron transport inhibitors exist, little is understood about the lethal effects of these drugs on the parasite and how drug resistance develops.

According to the abstract, “To further elucidate the mechanism of resistance development, we have analyzed the response of drug selected parasites to a subsequent drug treatment. These studies begin to provide information on the physiological state of the drug-inhibited parasites when mutations in mitochondrial DNA could arise that lead to drug resistance and enhance our ability to define essential targets for future drug development.”

The Science Division colloquia are of broad and general interest, accessible to a general audience. All students, faculty, and interested members of the Penn State Berks and surrounding community are encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Dr. Leonard Gamberg, Associate Professor of Physics, via e-mail at LPG10@psu.edu.

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