Malaria is a major public health problem in the nations of Southeast Asia, where malaria management has met great challenges due to the existence of significant knowledge gaps in epidemiology studies, vector biology, and parasitology. While the four projects in this center program are tailored to address these knowledge gaps, each project entails substantial amounts of research that require the use of advanced molecular technologies. However, there is significant deficiency in research capacity in molecular biology in these endemic countries. In recognition of this deficiency at the study sites, this Molecular Biology Core is created to bolster research capacity in molecular biology and provide overall support for the molecular studies of the program. Specifically, we propose to 1) evaluate rapid diagnostic tests for malaria, and develop and validate novel tools such as loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) for parasite detection in clinical samples and mosquito vectors, 2) develop and validate molecular methods (e.g., DNA barcoding) for malaria vector species identification and detection of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) responsible for pyrethroid knock-down resistance (kdr) genotypes of major vector species, and 3) establish and implement molecular methods for genotyping malaria parasites, studying parasite population dynamics, and monitoring the prevalence of drug resistance markers. By establishing a centralized molecular facility, this Core will provide efficient and cost-effective support to the projects of this center. A consortium of investigators with significant molecular expertise will collaborate to develop, optimize, and establish standard operation procedures. By providing training in molecular techniques, this Core will serve as a platform for accelerating the transfer of advanced technologies to scientists of the endemic countries, and building up local research capacities.

Public Health Relevance

This core aims to build a central molecular facility to provide technological support to all research projects of this center and help boosting molecular research capacity in the malaria-endemic areas of Southeast Asia.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Program--Cooperative Agreements (U19)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAI1-AWA-M)
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Pennsylvania State University
University Park
United States
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