Interview - Dr. Chakkumkal Anish

dr. chakkumkal anish, plague detection, plague antigen, synthetic plague antigen Dr. Chakkumkal Anish´s recent publication in Angewandte Chemie (Applied Chemistry) on synthesizing an artificial plague antigen and proving the possibility of plague detection through its use in large scale screenings and eventually point-of-care devices, caused a reverberation in the scientific community. Plague in the 21st century? You must be kidding! Unfortunately, no. Cases are reported each year, from New Mexico to China (see our press release), and plague is officially classified as Class A bioterrorism agent. Dr. Anish describes the rationale and the applications of his discovery.

Why plague?

Plague was selected for two reasons: first, its historical importance. There is no other disease that devastated humanity like this. Black death still gives us chills. It killed more then 200 million people through its several epidemics. It devastated the world population through ages. Thus, it was a perfect model to demonstrate our concept of using synthetic glycan antibodies for pathogen detection. Second, plague is  classified as Class A highly lethal bio-weapon that may cause extreme social panic and chaos. Reliable tests for this bacteria are very important for early detection. If undetected, plague is lethal within a week of its onset. ...

Press DCIR for malaria, SIGNR3 for inflammatory bowel disease

bernd lepeniesC-type lectin receptors promote development of malaria and modulate the outcome of inflammatory bowel disease, two recent publications of the Glycoimmunolgy group show.

DCIR plays crucial role in the development of cerebral malaria

A doctoral student in the lab of Dr. Bernd Lepenies, Maha Malignao, observed a mouse model of cerebral malaria in which 80% of mice developed neurological symptoms. Malignao compared the clinical picture with a strain of malaria infected DCIR receptor deficient mice. She was able to prove that 85% of mice lacking DCIR receptor did not succumb to cerebral malaria, suggesting a significant role of this C-lectin type receptor in the development of the disease. Accordingly, DCIR-/- mice that survived the infection with malaria causing parasite showed reduced sequestration of immune cells in the brain and reduced brain inflammation. Dr. Malignao results will be published in the September 1 issue of The Journal of Immunology....

BMS Cross-Blogged: What happens when a mosquito bites?

Check out this amazing footage from the Unité de Biochimie et de Biologie Moléculaire des Insectes, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France at Not Exactly Rocket Science showing what happens under your skin when a mosquito bites. Those 30 sec before you slap the bzzzzing thing will never look the same again. 

"When the mosquitoes were infected with the Plasmodium parasites that cause malaria, they spent more time probing around for blood vessels. It’s not clear why—the parasites could be controlling the insect’s nervous system or changing the activity of genes in its mouthparts. Either way, the infected mosquitoes give up much less readily in their search for blood, which presumably increases the odds that the parasites will enter a new host."