USP Scientific Officer gets Training in anti-Malarial Drug Discovery

Kavita Ragni of IAS at the National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC), Thailand Science Park, THAILAND.

Mrs. Kavita Ragini, a scientific officer from The Institute of Applied Sciences, was awarded a scholarship of Human Resource Development Program in Biotechnology for the Asia Pacific as one of the twelve young researchers from various developing countries; Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Vietnam. She had an opportunity to enrich her knowledge in molecular biology at Protein-Ligand Engineering and Molecular Biology Laboratory at National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC), Thailand Science Park, THAILAND for a period of 3 months under the supervision of Dr. Chairat Uthaipibull.

During that time, she successfully completed the research project on “Construction of Plasmodium berghei transfection plasmid harboring P. falciparum dihydrofolate reductase mutant library”.  She gained substantial knowledge on molecular biology especially gene cloning and construction of plasmid vectors. She will input her knowledge into the Centre for Drug Discovery and Conservation, IAS, to analyse the bioactive compounds against multi-drug resistant P. falciparum. The program also focused on improving research skills, designing a research project and practical training on molecular biology. Additionally she got a chance to visit a few industries and research institutes to acquire her experience on bio-industry development in Thailand. Hence, USP greatly appreciates and acknowledges this sponsorship from BIOTEC, Thailand for the staff development program for Mrs. Kavita Ragini. “The training was a good opportunity for me to broaden my knowledge and to undergo state of art research on a disease that causes so many deaths worldwide. I thank Prof. Aalbersberg for his continuous support.”

Given the impact of malaria on Melanesia and the developing world, IAS efforts have focused on finding anti-malarial drugs.  Working with Georgia Tech University, the extract of a red alga has been found to have potential for becoming an anti-malaria drug and further studies are being undertaken in association with the University of California, Riverside