The laboratory core will be an integral component of our center of excellence in malaria research. It will act as a central store and distribution center for all field surveillance activities. In addition, it will directly serve research project 1, 3, and 4. The core will consist of two established laboratories, in Kampala and Tororo, which have capacity for the organization and storage of large numbers of samples, the culture of malaria parasites, the collection of blood components for immunological assays, and molecular studies to assess mediators of drug and insecticide resistance.
The aims of the laboratory core will be: (1) to serve as a central repository for the distribution of supplies to surveillance sites and the collection, collation, and storage of samples from surveillance sites, (2) to support laboratory components of surveillance activities, (3) to support immunology studies related to surveillance activities, and (4) to support studies of parasite resistance to antimalarials and mosquito resistance to insecticides. Our surveillance will include extensive collection of blood spots on filter paper and trapped mosquitoes, which will be stored at our central laboratory in Kampala We will use these samples to perform regular surveillance in Kampala for immune responses to P. falciparum, for P. falciparum polymorphisms known or predicted to be associated with drug resistance, for mosquito infection with P. falciparum, and for mosquito polymorphisms and metabolic changes associated with insecticide resistance. Our Tororo laboratory will provide serum and parasite samples from members of our cohorts at that site for analysis in Projects 3 and 4. Serum samples will allow us to characterize relationships between parasite exposure, the immune response, and protection from infection and disease. Parasite samples will allow us to serially evaluate the drug sensitivity of parasites from members of our cohorts, allowing us to search for associations between parasite sensitivity to drugs, clinical outcomes after treatment or preventive therapy with these drugs, and molecular markers of drug resistance.
Laboratory studies are an important component of assessments of malaria. Our laboratory core in Uganda will conduct studies to assess the drug resistance of malaria parasites, insecticide resistance of malaria transmitting mosquitoes, and antimalarial immune responses of people living in regions of Uganda with varied levels of transmission of malaria.
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